San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks: 2020 Week 8 NFL Pick

San Francisco 49ers (4-3) at Seattle Seahawks (5-1)

Earlier this week, I was expecting to be betting on the Seahawks in this one. This line has shifted significantly since last week, moving from Seattle -6 to Seattle -3, as a result of the 49ers’ dominant win in New England and the Seahawks overtime loss to the Cardinals, which I think is an overreaction, especially since the Cardinals are a legitimately good team, ranking 9th in schedule adjusted first down rate differential, led by an offense that leads the league in first down rate over expected. On top of that, Russell Wilson traditionally bounces back well off of a loss, as many top level quarterbacks do, going 22-10 ATS all-time off of a loss.

Most of the Seahawks’ games have been close over the past two seasons (17 one score games, with the Seahawks going 14-3 in those games) and the 49ers hold the edge in schedule adjusted first down rate differential in 2020, ranking 6th at +2.10%, while the Seahawks rank 15th at +0.92%, but the Seahawks have a big edge on offense, ranking 5th in first down rate over expected at +2.61%, while the 49ers rank 19th at +0.05%. The Seahawks have been held back by a defense that ranks 25th in first down rate allowed over expected, but defensive performance tends to be much more unpredictable on a week-to-week basis than offensive performance and if the Seahawks can even be a middling defensive unit, this team should go a long way, as long as their offense can continue what it’s done so far.

Unfortunately, the Seahawks may need to get healthier before they can expect to even be middling on defense and this week their injury situation is going in the wrong direction, with cornerbacks Shaq Griffin and Ugo Amadi expected to join stud safety Jamal Adams on the sideline, where he would be for the 4th straight game. There’s a slight chance Adams plays because he returned to practice on Friday and was listed as questionable, but he’s had just one limited practice in over a month, so I wouldn’t expect him to be on the field. 

For that reason, it’s hard to be as excited about the Seahawks as I was earlier this week when I thought they were going to be healthier. The Seahawks also have injury concerns on offense, where their top-3 running backs are all listed as questionable after barely practicing all week. If the Seahawks get a favorable inactives list (meaning Adams and at least one of the running backs are active), I will still probably make a bet on the Seahawks, assuming the line doesn’t change, but for now this is a low confidence pick.

Update: Still no word on Jamal Adams, but this line has dropped to 1 overnight. That is likely a sign that Adams won’t play, but at that number, the Seahawks are worth a bet without him. I think it’s unlikely that Russell Wilson loses back-to-back games, even without Adams, and the 49ers, who have been streaky this season, haven’t faced a team as good as the Seahawks.

Seattle Seahawks 29 San Francisco 49ers 24

Pick against the spread: Seattle -1

Confidence: Medium

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