By Conor Perrett
Week 15 of the NFL season starts off with a NFC West clash between the top two teams in the division.
The game has major implications for the playoff picture, with a win for the 49ers giving them the division title, while a win for the Seahawks would put them back in the play-off positions as the Giants and Commanders play each other on Sunday night.
This is a matchup that has lots of history behind it, but will be the first time the QB’s of either team, Brock Purdy and Geno Smith, will meet and hopefully make more headlines to what is usually a spicy affair.
Seattle Seahawks (7-6)
Power Rankings: 16th
DVOA Rankings: Offence: 9th, Defence: 21st, ST: 2nd Overall: 10th
When Seattle made the blockbuster trade to send long-term quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos, we expected this Seahawks team to enter a rebuild and fight for draft picks. A surprise start of the season changed that and put the Seahawks in a position to make a run for the play-offs.
The 6-3 start put them in a good position but with one win over the last month is a setback. Over that span, their play on both sides of the ball has regressed, with teams running the ball against their defence with ease and they are coming off a loss to the Carolina Panthers, where they ran the ball for 223 yards.
While the offence has shown flashes of good over the season, their worst performance came in Week 2 against the Niners. They were held to seven points and quarterback Geno Smith struggled against that defence in particular.
San Francisco 49ers (9-4)
Power Rankings – 5th
DVOA Rankings: Offence: 10th, Defence: 2nd, ST: 14th, Overall: 3rd
The 49ers open this game as favourites and despite having a top defence, offence is the main success for winning games in this league.
That is a testament to how well Brock Purdy has played so far. The Mr. Irrelevant of this year’s draft class, has come in after the two previous QB’s in front of him have gone down with injuries. So far he has not put a foot wrong for the Niners.
His impressive performance against a red hot Miami team put the league on notice, and last Sunday, his dismantling of the Buccaneers only confirmed that.
A San Fran win would not only give them a season sweep over the Seahawks, but it would also give them a three-game lead with only three games to play in the NFC West. With them also holding the tiebreaker, that means the division would be locked up with a victory.
Week 2 – Seahawks @ 49ers, 7-27, 49ers Win
Last season the Seahawks had the way with the Niners, but Seattle were a completely different team at that time. Russell Wilson was their QB and they viewed the play-offs as a minimum. Now this season they are in rebuild mode and San Fran took advantage of that when they put them away fairly comfortably earlier in the season.
The main thing to keep an eye on to the build up of this game, is the status of Brock Purdy who is listed as questionable. The expectation is for him to play, but with the offensive powers of head coach Kyle Shanahan, it might not matter who’s under the helmet at QB.
This one feels like a fairly easy game for me to predict. On paper the 49ers offence and defence is better than Seattle’s, while they also look to match-up better as well. This San Francisco team likes to run the ball and suffer opposing teams on defence. That matches up perfectly against the Seahawks who have trouble stopping the run and playing good defence.
It’s the main reason why the Niners had so much success against them earlier in the season and even without quarterbacks Trey Lance, who was playing in that game and Jimmy Garoppolo, I can see no different result.
49ers 27-13 Seahawks