Every game in the NFC West is going to be important moving forward. There are three teams with five wins and one with four. As we enter Week 8, this is one of the games of the week between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.
The Seahawks suffered their first loss of the season on Sunday night against the Arizona Cardinals in overtime. Russell Wilson threw three interceptions in the game and this led to a loss. The Seahawks’ defense has struggled in recent weeks and it has a lot to do with the health of Jamal Adams. They will look to rebound against an inconsistent 49er team.
San Francisco went to Foxborough and did something that has not been done in this century. They made the New England Patriots look like an incapable football team. The 49ers dominated the game in all three phases on their way to a 33-6 victory. This was a major confidence win heading into their game with Seattle.
These two teams played two instant classic games in 2019 and will look to put on another show in Week 8. These five factors will be focused on from the opening kick.
5. Seahawks’ injury woes
The Seahawks entered their game against the Cardinals with three healthy running backs plus the threat of Wilson running the ball. Heading into Week 8, they might just have Wilson’s legs healthy.
Chris Carson suffered a foot injury that forced him to leave the overtime loss. He could very well miss this game against the 49ers. Carlos Hyde and Travis Homer also suffered injuries that could keep them sidelined. Rashaad Penny is getting closer to returning from the PUP list but it will not be this week. So where could the Seahawks look to at running back? Wilson led the team in rushing in Week 7 with 84 yards. David Moore was another back to get a carry but it was just one for four yards.
This is something to keep an eye on. If Carson can play, that would be huge for the team to have his threat in the backfield — even if he is not 100%.
4. Replacing Deebo Samuel
The Seahawks were not the only team to suffer injuries in Week 7. The 49ers had Samuel leave the game with a hamstring strain. This will most likely force him to miss this matchup with Seattle.
This means that someone else will have to step up. The 49ers are already thin at wide receiver. Against New England, it was Brandon Aiyuk. The rookie finished with six catches for 115 yards. Everyone in the football world knows about the threat that George Kittle poses from the tight end position but San Francisco will need some options on the outside to step up.
Hopefully, Samuel is not forced to miss too much time. Against a struggling Seattle defense, the 49ers should be able to score some points and find some openings in the secondary.
3. Russell Wilson vs. Jimmy Garoppolo
The quarterback battle is one to watch out for. Wilson and Garoppolo have two very different styles of play when trying to win a game. These teams know each other well so it will be interesting to see who adjusts throughout the course of the game.
Wilson leads the league with 22 passing touchdowns but has thrown six interceptions, with five coming in the last three games. He has been effective running the ball and might have to go the extra mile with the injuries to Seattle’s backfield. As for Garoppolo, he is managing games this season. He has seven touchdowns and four interceptions. The 49ers do now have him doing too much so far.
In this game, Garoppolo might have to make some plays against a Seattle offense that can put points up quickly. It will be fun to watch how the defenses defend these two quarterbacks.
2. 49ers’ rushing attack
Raheem Mostert has been put on IR and the carousel continues on the 49ers’ backfield. Who is going to step up? Against the Patriots, it was Jeffrey Wilson.
Wilson carried the ball 17 times for 112 yards and three touchdowns last week. JaMycal Hasty finished with nine carries and Kyle Juszczyk got in the end zone. Jerick McKinnon finished with just three carries for negative yardage. There is no doubt that Kyle Shanahan will ride the hot hand and right now, that is Wilson. Seattle is middle of the pack defensively allowing 110.5 rushing yards per game.
The ground game is important for San Francisco. This takes pressure off Garoppolo. It is how they made a Super Bowl run in 2019, just look at the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers.
1. Defensive battles
At the end of the day, the defense is going to decide how this game will be played. Which defense? That is what we will need to find out early on.
The 49ers want this to be a low scoring, defensive battle. They have been decimated by injuries to big-name players like Nick Bosa, but their defense has adjusted and they are playing well led by defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. The Seahawks want a track meet. They are scoring a ton of points but are giving up just as many. This is not the Seahawks’ defense that we are used to from years past.
Defense is going to set the tone of this game. These team know each other very well so they should come into this game with a plan.