Seattle Seahawks (1-0) at San Francisco 49ers (0-1)
The 49ers lost last week as big road favorites against a Bears team that was expected to be one of the worst in the league. The 49ers had a lot of injury issues last week, the game was played in the pouring rain, and the 49ers won the first down rate battle (+0.31%) and yards per play battle (+1.30), with the game swinging on turnovers and big plays, which are not as predictive week-to-week as first downs and yards, but I still have concerns about them going forward, especially given how bad the Bears were expected to be.
Part of the concern is that is because the 49ers are still far from fully healthy. Stud tight end George Kittle could return this week after missing week 1, but he’s unlikely to be 100% and could be on a snap count even if he does play, while top cornerback Jason Verrett, top safety Jimmie Ward, and starting center Daniel Brunskill remain out, while top running back Elijah Mitchell joins them this week. Brunskill’s absence is especially a problem because the 49ers are already down a pair of offensive linemen from a year ago, with Laken Tomlinson signing with the Lions and Alex Mack retiring. Add in inexperienced quarterback Trey Lance struggling thus far in his first stint starting over proven veteran Jimmy Garoppolo and, all in all, the 49ers are not the same team right now that they’ve been in recent years.
Given that, we’re getting good value with the Seahawks as 9-point road underdogs. The Seahawks had the emotional edge on their side in their week 1 win over the Broncos, playing at home on Monday Night Football against their former quarterback, and the Broncos are not as good as the general public thinks, with a defense that is likely to not be as good as a year ago, but the Seahawks’ upset win last week probably was not a fluke, as I expected them to be a competitive team coming into the season.
In some ways, this Seahawks team reminds me of when Pete Carroll first took over, when they went 7-9 with Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst as their starting quarterbacks in his first season, before finding Russell Wilson in the following year’s draft. The 49ers should still win this game, but my calculated line has them as just 6.5 point favorites, giving us good line value with the Seahawks. Unfortunately, that emotional win last week could put the Seahawks in a bad spot this week, as teams tend to struggle after big home upset wins, covering the spread at just a 41.6% rate all-time after winning as home underdogs of 5 points or more. For that reason, this is a no confidence pick, but the Seahawks are still the pick for pick ‘em purposes.
San Francisco 49ers 24 Seattle Seahawks 16
Pick against the spread: Seattle +9