The odds are stacked against the Seahawks, but here’s how Seattle could give itself a chance on Saturday.
SEATTLE – The odds are stacked against the Seahawks into the NFL knockouts.
According to most sportsbooks, Seattle has the second lowest win rate in the Super Wild Card Weekend. The only team with more points is the Miami Dolphins, who won’t have a quarter-final start against the Buffalo Bills.
The San Francisco 49ers became a freight train in the second half of the season with rookie Brock Purdy taking over at quarterback. NFC’s No. 2 seed, the 49ers entered the post-season with a 10-game winning streak.
Anything can happen in the NFL’s knockouts, as the Seahawks know well. It will be the toughest test of the season so far to get into Levi’s Stadium and beat the 49ers in a post-season buzz.
The Seahawks have played house money having come this far, defying all pre-season predictions to secure a spot in the knockout stages. Seattle has nothing to lose and will need to bring that energy with it.
Let’s take a look at three keys that helped the Seahawks make Saturday’s game a competitive one and even potentially take out their fellow Bay Area rivals.
pressure Brock Purdy
The 49ers’ defense quartet showed little sign of a rookie after replacing Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 13.
Purdy is leading the charge averaging 33 points a game since he replaced Garoppolo, and his numbers are on par with the league’s best midfielders in the second half of the season.
However, Purdy is still 23 years old and will play the biggest match of his youth football career on Saturday. San Francisco fans are expecting this team to win a Super Bowl, and Purdy has considerable weight to help this all-star squad win the championship.
Uchenna Nwosu, Darell Taylor and Bruce Irvin are required to put pressure on Purdy early and often on Saturday, while doing whatever they can to disrupt the young midfielder’s rhythm.
At the same time, the Seahawks’ second team had to capitalize on every single Purdy mistake. Quandre Diggs had two consecutive interceptions, and Tariq Woolen finished the season leading the league with six interceptions.
If the Seahawks can shake Purdy’s cage and make a few diversions from the 49ers’ offense, that will greatly increase their chances of winning. Seattle has more control of Purdy than any other team he’s faced in the NFL, as San Francisco’s 21 points in the final game against the Seahawks is by far their lowest point since Purdy took over.
So far, no team seems to have been able to make it difficult for Purdy in his NFL career, so it’s going to be a tough task for defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt. However, this will likely be the most important factor determining the outcome of Saturday’s match.
Own the ground game
The last time these teams competed at Lumen Field, the Seahawks ran only 70 yards, while the 49ers made it 170 yards above ground.
Ken Walker is back and looking healthy in the last few Seahawks games, ending one of the rookie’s stronger seasons on the offensive side of the ball.
When the Seahawks have gone more than 150 yards on the ground this season, the team is leading 5-1. The 49ers were only allowed to go more than 150 yards once this season, but they lost that game.
Even getting to the top 100 yards in front of arguably the NFL’s best defense will be a tough challenge, but maintaining a steady ground on the ground and winning possession time will be huge for the body. Seahawks winning streak.
On the other side, All-Pro Christian McCaffrey’s arrival to the 49ers’ roster this season has made an already dynamic bombardment all the more powerful.
The Seahawks’ defense was an issue throughout the season, as Seattle ranked 30th in terms of javelin allowed.
Slowing down McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and anyone else carrying the ball on Saturday will be instrumental in limiting San Francisco’s powerful offensive ability.
football doesn’t make mistakes
Ultimately, the Seahawks had to play as clean a game as possible on Saturday to stand a chance.
The 49ers’ defense is full of All-Pro caliber players who capitalize on mistakes and play big. Nick Bosa is the best passer in football, Fred Warner is one of the top three centre-backs, and the back line is full of defensive defenders who make it difficult for opposing midfielders.
Geno Smith must be at his absolute best on Saturday and will need to improve on a disappointing performance in the Seahawks’ regular season finale.
In his first full season as a Seattle starter, Smith led this team further than anyone expected of him. He will be in charge of keeping the attack going smoothly and completing every shot with force.
If the Seahawks take the lead in the revenue battle, the team will have a much better chance of making it to the teams’ knockouts.
https://www.king5.com/article/sports/nfl/seahawks/seahawks-49ers-2023-nfl-playoffs/281-fcb6f0d1-363e-4176-9622-1949a476648f NFL playoffs: How Sehawks can challenge 49ers in Wild Card game