The San Francisco 49ers were supposed to run away with the NFC West but after losses in two of their last three, they are locked into a dog fight. Quite surprisingly, the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks are also 4-2 while the St. Louis Rams are just one game back at 3-3.
What was originally projected to be a laugher between the Seahawks and the 49ers (in the prseason) now turns out to be a very important contest on Thursday Night Football.
Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers
NFL Betting Odds: 49ers -7.5
How The Seahawks Can Win
Seattle’s defense is one of the best in the league and they proved it on Sunday when they upset New England, although a little trash-talk from cornerback Richard Sherman was unnecessary seeing as how he nor his team have never really done anything. Their defense is the reason why many NFL betting experts are looking at the ‘Hawks as a darkhorse in the NFC because as the 49ers proved last year, you don’t need a great offense to go far. Offenses get the spotlight, but defense wins championships.
Still, there is a controversy in Seattle that is getting louder each week. Sure, rookie Russell Wilson threw three touchdowns against the Patriots and has played well in some big games this season, but he has also put up a couple stinkers and of course, the Seahawks have a highly-paid backup in Matt Flynn that they pursued in the offseason. If Wilson stumbles this week in a high-profile game, the grumbles will get louder.
How The 49ers Can Win
The 49ers are still the class of the division’s betting lines, but their job this week is more mental than physical after they were manhandled 26-3 at home by the New York Giants in a rematch of last year’s NFC championship game. That was a close one, but the 49ers were dominated over the final three quarters of the game and we saw the old Alex Smith, who threw for three picks.
The Giants took away the run and put the game on Smith’s shoulders and while he is much improved as a quarterback since Jim Harbaugh took over in San Francisco, he is more of a game-manager. But as a whole, the 49ers were whipped and they have to show some mental toughness on Thursday night.
Outlook And Pick
The 49ers come into this home affair as a 7.5-point favorite and they’ve covered in 14 of 19 games at Candlestick Park over the last three seasons. But the Seahawks have proven over the last couple decades that they aren’t afraid to go to San Francisco, winning and covering in half of their last 10 trips.
Still, this looks like a game where the 49ers are going to be angry at how they played last week, and Wilson’s best moments have come at home, not on the road where his rookie nerves could get to him. The Seahawks might keep it close for the half, but look for the 49ers to eventually pull away and cover the NFL betting spread in this Thursday night game.
Pick: 49ers -7.5