San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks
Line: San Francisco -9.5
Where: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California
When: Saturday, 1/14 at 4:30 p.m. ET
Seattle needed multiple things to go its way when it entered the final week of the regular season, but the Seahawks picked up a win over the Rams and got some help from Detroit against Green Bay later in the day to make the playoffs.
They snuck in as the No. 7 seed in the conference, earning a date with NFC West rival San Francisco, which is the No. 2 seed. The 49ers won and covered the spread in both regular-season meetings between these teams.
Oddsmakers opened San Francisco as a 10-point favorite, but that line has dropped down to -9.5 after several days of betting action. The total opened at 43.5 and has seen some slight movement down to 43 as of Tuesday afternoon.
San Francisco closed as an 8.5-point home favorite in a 27-7 win in Week 2, and the 49ers added a 21-13 road win as 3-point favorites last month. They are riding a 10-game winning streak coming into the postseason, covering the spread in eight of those 10 victories.
“I felt really good about our team when we won the division there (in Seattle) about a month ago,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “I feel better about them now because we’ve gotten better since that point. We’ll be ready to go.”
Rookie quarterback Brock Purdy has been under center since Week 13 due to Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury, completing 67.1% of his passes for 1,374 yards, 13 touchdowns and four interceptions. He completed 15 of 20 passes for 178 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-13 win against Arizona last week. Purdy became the second rookie quarterback in NFL history to throw multiple touchdown passes in six straight games.
“I feel great. I feel like everyone else is feeling great,” Purdy said. “When you’re on a roll, you’re on a win streak, you feel like the groove and how we’re playing together, it feels really good when we’re on it. I think a lot of us are real with ourselves, too, and feel like we still haven’t played to our full potential yet.”
Purdy is backed up by the eighth-ranked rushing attack in the NFL, as the 49ers are averaging 138.8 yards per game. Running back Christian McCaffrey has gone over 100 rushing yards in three of his last five games, including a 108-yard performance against Seattle on Dec. 15. He is facing a Seahawks defense that is No. 26 overall, allowing 361.7 yards per game.
San Francisco also has a trio of high-level targets in the passing game, with wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk catching 78 passes for 1,015 yards and eight touchdowns. Tight end George Kittle has 60 receptions for 765 yards and 11 touchdowns, while Deebo Samuel has added 56 catches for 632 yards and two scores.
Seattle narrowly made the playoffs following an overtime win against the Rams combined with Detroit’s upset at Green Bay. The Seahawks had lost five games in a six-game stretch before beating the Jets and Rams to close the regular season. Quarterback Geno Smith broke Russell Wilson’s single-season passing yardage record in Week 18, and he ranks fourth in the NFL in touchdown passes (30).
He finished 19 of 31 for 214 yards against the Rams last week, while rookie running back Kenneth Walker III rushed for 114 yards. They combined to lead an offense that finished the regular season ranked No. 13 in the NFL in yards per game (351.5). This will be another tough matchup for them, as San Francisco has the top overall defense in the league (300.6).
Despite their strong defense, the 49ers have gone ‘over’ the total in five of their last six games. Seattle has gone ‘under’ in four of its last five games, but it has gone ‘over’ in five of its last seven road contests. The Seahawks are 1-7 against the spread in their last eight games—they are 13-7 ATS in their last 20 games against San Francisco.
The pick: San Francisco -9.5
This is a much easier number to swallow than the 10 or 10.5s that were floating around on Sunday night and Monday. San Francisco is on fire coming into the playoffs, and this isn’t the type of matchup where I expect Purdy to come back to earth. He shouldn’t have to force too many tough throws down the field, as Seattle’s defense has been among the league’s bottom feeders this season. The 49ers can control the tempo with their rushing attack and NFL-best defense, giving Purdy some easy completions in between. Seattle snuck into the playoffs through the back door after covering the spread once in its last eight games, while San Francisco has covered in seven of its last eight games.