SEATTLE @ SAN FRANCISCO MONDAY NIGHT PREVIEW (11-11-19)
CLASSIC FAR WEST RIVALRY FINALLY IN PLAY TONIGHT WITH BOTH ELITE TEAMS!
VEGAS ODDS: SAN FRAN NINERS (-6) vs. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS ~ TOTAL: (47)
Well folks for the first time since 2014, both of tonight’s MNF game teams have a winning record coming into this fierce rivalry match up. Seattle is shockingly (7-2) and San Fran is the lone unbeaten team left in the NFL (8-0). It’s always fun to watch a Top Offense face off against a Top Defense to gauge where each really is. It’s easy to play weaker Offenses and Defense but the cream usually rises to the top when we get two heavyweights in action facing off. When you add these two teams hate each other, you get a really exciting and hard hitting type game tonight. This will be Niners young QB Jimmy Garappolo’s first ever game vs. the Seahawks.
I’ve covered Football over 30 years, and rarely have I seen one player simply carry an entire “AVERAGE TEAM” on his back to being a team with a (7-2) record and this is what Seahawks QB Russell Wilson has done. He has been easily best player in NFL (sorry Lamar Jackson) as he is “Houdini” so much that Houdini needs to change his name. Wilson has thrown for 2,505 yards (200-293), 22 TD’s and only 1 Interception. He has made over 25 plays on broken plays where over 15 looked like there was less than 1% chance he’d make a play. He’s always been a Houdini making plays outside the pocket while scrambling, but this year he’s at his highest level ever. I don’t think this is a real (7-2) caliber type team, but hey give credit to Wilson, this great record is 90% on him. I’ve said for years one of the most under rated WR’s is Tyler Lockett, and somehow this year he, like Wilson, has risen to possibly best WR in the NFL. He wins every jump ball, runs fantastic routes, rarely drops a ball and is a “deep threat” too. He has 59 catches on just 72 targets his way. This is almost impossible to do when the best cornerback is covering you every down. Now the Seahawks finally have a nice #2 as well for Wilson to pass it to, with young WR D.K. Metcalf also a wonderful weapon. In the last 2 games (both Seattle wins), Lockett and Metcalf have combined for 19 catches and 275 total yards and 3 TD’s. Tonight the Seahawks add talented WR Josh Gordon, waived 2 weeks ago by Pats. He can make big plays and will be hard to cover as the #3 wideout when all 3 studs are on field at same time. The Seahawks will need all 3 to play big tonight as they face the #1 Defense in the NFL in the Niners.
SF has the #1 Defense and they allow only 103 rush yards and an insane low 138 pass yards per game. Why are they so good? They have the best group of pass rushers in the NFL and one of best I’ve watched on tape in years. Young stud Rookie Nick Bosa is the #1 pass rusher, and team mates Ford (#8), Buckner (#26) and Armstead (#54). They are in on the QB fast and so most teams can’t even call deep pass plays. They have to dink and dunk it and the pass rush is so good, the Offensive Lines get called for a holding penalty and there goes that drive. The Niners D is (#2) in completion % allowed, yards per pass attempt, passer rating and QBR rating. They are (#3) in Sacks with 30. One downside tonight though is they will be without LB Kwon Alexander. To me he’s been the “heart and soul” and the biggest improvement on this Defense and will be sorely missed. With him the Run Defense has shown some cracks the past 2 weeks as they allowed Panthers C-Mac to gain 117 yards on only 14 carries two weeks ago and last week Cardinals RB K. Drake to gain 110 on just 15 carries. They have allowed some big runs and now face Seattle TB C. Carson who is off his best game last week (16 rushes – 105 yards). If the Niners are forced to load the box just to stop Carson, than Wilson is likely to have a big passing game again (last week 378 pass yards and 5 TD’s). Wilson scrambles are best getting away from pass rushers, but tonight will be his toughest test vs. Niners elite tacklers on DL and on blitzes.
SF Offense has been so so for most of year as Garoppolo has just finally started to shake off the rust. With the Run game (#1) so great, not much has been asked of him to pass the ball all over the yard like many teams allow their QB to throw it. He has thrown under 30 passes in 5 of 8 games. The Niners only avg. (27.1) passes per game. The league average is (34.6). But last week may have been his break out game, going (28-37-317-4 TD’s- No Interceptions). What has made the huge uptick? It’s easy, the Niners traded for Broncos stud WR E. Sanders (to me by far best trade of year) and it’s paid off huge dividends already with Sanders having 11 catches-137 yards and 2 TD’s. We’ve talked how good Seattle’s Offense is, but the Seattle Defense (#25) has been plain terrible this year. They added stud DE J. Clowney but he has little sacks to show for the deal and overall he’s been just good, nothing great. The secondary for the Seahawks has been burned often and this Defense when I watch on tape misses more tackles than almost any other team, making some small plays turn into giant gainers. The Pass “D” has allowed Falcons backup QB M. Schaub to pass for 460 and last week Bucs J. Winston threw for 335 (and it would’ve been well over 400 but Winston sucks and overthrows 5 passes to wide open guys a game). Last week Bucs stud WR Mike Evans was wide open (by over 5 yards) on 8 plays. How can that happen when you know who the other teams main target is? I’d expect Sanders to have a gigantic game tonight for the Niners as nobody on Seattle can cover him. Seattle Defense is now 4th worst vs. pass (278 pypg) and 4th worst getting sacks (1.7 per game). If you don’t pressure Jimmy G he has the arm and smarts to beat you up good. Under pressure he’s a lot like Vikings Kirk Cousins, he will make a bad throw under duress.
Seattle is shockingly (4-0) on the Road this year and even more stunning is they are also (4-0) when allowing an opposing QB to pass for 400+ yards. Last few weeks we finally saw cracks in Niners D which bodes well for a red hot Russell Wilson tonight. It was great to finally see Jimmy Garoppolo break out too as he’s been the weak link all season until past few weeks. He will not have his best wide out tonight though as super stud (and easily best Tight End in NFL) G. Kittle is out for tonight’s game, and stud FB K. Juszczyk and RT McGlinchey may also both miss tonight’s game. Some Good News for the Niners though is stud LT Joe Staley returns tonight to shore up the Off Line. For the Seahawks, DE J. Clowney has missed practice all week (bad toe) and LT Duane Brown is nursing a bad knee and biceps. Both would be gigantic losses if they don’t play.
I am a big Russ Wilson fan and he’s having a magical season but going against the #1 Defense is something I can’t predict he has big success tonight. He’s faced only 3 top half Defenses so far, and 4 bottom 9 Defenses as well. On Road though Wilson has been able to block out the opposing Fan bases, scoring 28, 27, 32 and 27 points. He may need 30 tonight as his Defense really can’t cover the kids in the neighborhood. The public and sharps all bet the “OVER” as it’s gone from (44 1/2) to (47) now.
I expect the key quarter tonight to be the 2nd and 4th ones. Seattle is scoring 90 points in the second quarter and the Niners have only allowed 13 points in the 2nd quarter so far. The Niners have allowed 43 points all year in the first half, as they come in with a solid game plan every week and it’s usually take opposing Play callers a quarter just to figure out what the heck they are doing. I also don’t think many teams Offensive Lines have seen the ferocious pass rush the Niners put forth….I’ve not seen any team put so much pressure by so many guys in years. The Seahawks could easily get a back door cover as they have scored 76 points in the 4th quarter, second most in the NFL (Falcons have 77). To me this is a fun game to sit back and watch and enjoy, and I will leave the betting part to all of you guys.
Enjoy the game tonight and may all your wagers be Winning ones ahead.
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