The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks will meet for the third time this season, as the NFL wild-card weekend kicks off Saturday afternoon at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
Despite losing starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a potential season-ending ankle injury in the Week 13 victory over the Miami Dolphins, the 49ers have been on a massive roll, winning 10 consecutive games for the first time since they won 11 in a row during the 1997 season.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks needed a little help to even make the playoffs as the No. 7 seed in the NFC. They won on a field goal in overtime against the Los Angeles Rams (who had nothing to play for), 19-16, and then needed the Detroit Lions to defeat the Green Bay Packers, which they did last Sunday night in the NFL regular-season finale.
Let’s take a closer look at the lines (provided by FanDuel Sportsbook) and trends:
(7) SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (9-8) at (2) SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (13-4)
Time/TV: 4:35 p.m. Saturday (Fox)
Line: 49ers by 9.5 (down from 10 just a couple days ago)
Previous meetings this season: 49ers won, 21-13, in Seattle in Week 15; 49ers won, 27-7, in Santa Clara in Week 2.
All-time series: Seahawks lead, 30-19, including a 23-17 victory in the NFC championship game on Jan. 19, 2014, which is the only postseason meeting between the teams.
Series trend notes: Not only have the 49ers not won three in a row in the series since taking four straight from 2010 to 2012, they hadn’t won two in a row before December since then. … Seattle had won 15 of the 17 meetings from the aforementioned NFC title game in 2014 until the second meeting of the 2021 season.
Team trends: San Francisco has won six consecutive playoff openers. The last time they lost their first playoff game of the season was at Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers on Jan. 13, 2002. … They also have only lost one postseason game this century (vs. the Giants in the NFC title game in January 2012). … The Seahawks have won two in a row after losing three straight and five of six. … Seattle is 7-2 in playoff openers under Pete Carroll, but they have lost two of the past three.
Before this season, Carroll had the Niners’ number, as we showed in our series trends, above, but that has greatly changed this season. And, San Fran did it with two different quarterbacks in Garoppolo and Brock Purdy, who is 5-0 as a starter.
Has it shocked anyone that Geno Smith has turned back into Geno Smith? He has thrown 74 passes in the series this season with just one touchdown, and that likely won’t change here.
Other than the fluke game against Jarrett Stidham and the Raiders on New Year’s Day, the 49ers have not allowed more than 20 points in any other game since giving up 44 to the Chiefs in Week 7. Their top-ranked defense also has been stingy against the run, giving up more than 100 yards on the ground four times all year and just once over the past 10 weeks.
In other words, it likely will be a rough day for the Seahawks, and now that the line is back down to 9, the Niners could be one of the best teaser legs of the weekend (maybe with the Giants). That especially is true in potentially the only bad-weather game of the weekend and the fact the 2 seed has defeated the 7 seed in both NFC wild-card games – by 16 last January and 13 in 2021 – since the recent expansion of the playoffs.
PREDICTION: 49ers 27, Seahawks 12