Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: Seahawks vs. 49ers (1/14/2023) - Taking Vegas

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Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: Seahawks vs. 49ers (1/14/2023)

By Michael Savio
January 11, 2023

Seattle Seahawks vs San Francisco 49ers (1/14 @ 4:30 PM EST)

Spread: 49ers -10
Money Line: Seattle +395 / San Francisco -485
Total: 43

Overview and Betting Info

The Seattle Seahawks (9-8) will head to San Francisco to take on the 49ers (13-4) in the first of this weekend’s Wild Card Playoff games. The Niners won both games between these teams in the regular season, outscoring them 48-20. The Niners won the NFC West, while the Seahawks finished second.

The Seahawks are 7-10 against the spread and have covered just once in their previous eight games. They went over the total eight times but have been under in their last four games.

The 49ers are 11-6 versus the spread this season and have covered seven of their previous eight games. They have gone over the total nine times and have done so in five of their last six games.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks’ offense is averaging 351.5 yards and 23.9 points per game this season, thanks to the re-emergence of Geno Smith. The veteran quarterback threw for 4,282 yards and 30 touchdowns in a season that few saw coming. He has also been using his legs, rushing for 366 yards and another touchdown. Smith’s been incredible this year, but he did struggle in his two matchups against the Niners. He threw for a combined 435 yards with one touchdown and one interception. His completion percentage is 69.8% on the year, but he’ll need to find a way to make bigger plays against a brutal Niners defense.

The Seattle receiving corps is led by DK Metcalf (1,048, 6 TD) and Tyler Lockett (1,033 yards, 9 TD). Metcalf is their top target and is a challenge to cover. However, his usage dipped in the last two weeks, as he made just four catches for 43 yards. He played a pair of talented corners, which didn’t help, but he also struggled against the Niners this season with just 90 combined yards and zero touchdowns. Lockett has been on fire in the second half of the season, with seven touchdowns in their last nine games. He’ll be a key player on Saturday as he has succeeded against the Niners with 175 combined yards in their two regular season games.

Kenneth Walker III leads the Seahawks’ backfield, going for 1,050 yards and nine touchdowns on the year. After seeing limited carries through the first four weeks, Walker would go on to take over the starting role. He has been incredible during their playoff push, with 354 yards over his last three games. Like many other running backs, Walker struggled against the Niners’ run defense this season, with just 57 yards between the two games. Walker’s play will be critical for the Seahawks’ success on Saturday, as they’ll need to establish the run to have a chance at victory.

The Seattle defense allows 361.7 yards (26th in the NFL) and 23.6 points per game. Their struggles can be partly attributed to their third-worst run defense, allowing 150.2 yards per game on the ground. Their pass rush has been solid, led by Darrell Taylor (9.5 sacks, 8 TFL) and Uchenna Nwosu (9.5 sacks, 12 TFL). Taylor has been fantastic of late, with 4.5 sacks over his last three games. Their secondary is deep with talent, led by Tariq Woolen leads the NFL with six interceptions to go with 16 pass deflections (4th most). He is joined by Quandre Diggs (4 INT, 7 PD) and Mike Jackson (12 PD, 1 INT) to form a secondary that ranks among the ten best in the league. They’ll play a vital role against a Brock Purdy-led pass attack.

San Francisco 49ers

The Niners’ defense averages 365.6 yards (5th in NFL) and 26.5 points (6th in NFL) per game. Their success is partly due to a breakout season from Brock Purdy. The former “Mr. Irrelevant” pick from the 2022 draft stepped in as the starter in December and has thrown 1,374 yards and 13 touchdowns. He’s been fantastic in the starting role, scoring at least two touchdowns per game over their last six. His play has allowed this Niners offense to run at full strength, earning them the NFC’s two-seed.

Purdy is helped by a fantastic receiving corps that includes Brandon Aiyuk (1,015 yards, 8 TD), George Kittle (765 yards, 11 TD), and Deebo Samuels (632 yards, 2 TD). Aiyuk is coming off the best season of his young career and has been the Niners’ top pass catcher. He’s a talented receiver, but he was shut down in his last game against the Seahawks (2 catches, 19 yards). Kittle missed some time with an injury, but you wouldn’t guess it by watching him play. The tight end has seven touchdowns in his last four games, including two against the Seahawks. Samuel has had a down year through the air, but he’s been a dangerous rusher with 232 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. He went for 97 combined yards in his lone game against Seattle, with over 50 coming on the ground.

The Niners backfield is led by Christian McCaffery, who has 1,139 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. He’s also been an elite pass-catcher, with another 741 yards and five touchdowns through the air. He gashed the Seattle defense in their second matchup, going for 138 combined yards and a touchdown. McCaffery has six touchdowns over his last five games and should be in for a big day on Saturday. The Niners also have Elijah Mitchell (279 yards, 2 TD) back from injury. He immediately made his presence in his debut last week by logging five carries for 55 yards and two touchdowns.

The Niners’ defense allows 300.6 yards and 16.3 points per game, leading the NFL in both categories. They have been led by Nick Bosa, who leads the NFL with a ridiculous 18.5 sacks and is second with 19 TFLs. He’s been helped by elite play from linebacker Fred Warner, with 130 tackles (leads team), ten pass deflections, an interception, and two sacks. The Niners’ secondary features a trio of talented defensive backs in Tashaun Gipson Sr. (5 INT, 8 PD), Talanoa Hufanga (4 INT, 9 PD, 1 TD), and Jimmie Ward (3 INT, 5 PD). The unit allows a surprising number of yards through the air (222.9 YPG), but they’ve succeeded in keeping opponents out of the endzone.

Free Pick: 49ers -10.5

It’s hard to beat a team three times a season, but this mismatch is too much to overcome. While eight points decided their last game against Seattle, the Niners were without Samuel and still led comfortably for the entire game. Even if Purdy falters a bit under the bright lights of playoff football, McCaffery and Samuel should carve up a poor Seattle run defense. Kittle has shown he can beat up the Seattle secondary, giving the Niners a lot of different ways to score.

For Seattle, the offense has been faltering of late and that will only get worse against the leagues best defense. They managed a total of just 20 points against the Niners in two games, and there is no reason to expect that to change on Saturday.

If you’re still not sold, look at both teams’ schedules. While Seattle surpassed expectations by making the playoffs, they lost five of their final eight games. Their three wins came against the Jets and Rams (twice). By contrast, the Niners have won their last ten games, allowing just 14.4 points to opponents during that stretch.

We’re giving up the points to roll with the red-hot Niners.

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