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5 Keys to a 49ers Win Over the Seahawks in the Wild Card Round

Jan 13, 2023 at 8:48 AM--

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The San Francisco 49ers are hosting the first 2023 playoff game at home against the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday, January 14, at 1:30 PM PST / 4:30 PM EST. Some say it's impossible to defeat a team three times in one season. The 49ers finished the regular 13-4 with a ten-game win streak and swept the NFC West going 6-0. If the 49ers want to head into the Divisional Round, they must stick to these five keys to victory.

TAKE AWAY the Run game

The 49ers have the second-ranked run defense, only giving up 77.7 yards per game. The Seahawks rank 18th in rushing, averaging 120.1 yards per game. Seahawks running back and potential offensive rookie of the year Kenneth Walker III will look to get things going on the ground. The 49ers allowed 106 rushing yards in both games against the Seahawks in 2022. If the 49ers can force the Seahawks to become one-dimensional, there should be opportunities for the number one defense to capitalize.

FORCE Turnovers

The Seahawks have committed 23 turnovers this season, 12 interceptions, and 11 fumbles. Quarterback Geno Smith threw two interceptions against the Los Angeles Rams in their season finale. The 49ers created four turnovers (three interceptions and a fumble) in their season finale against the Arizona Cardinals. Win the turnover battle, win the game.

Run the Ball

It's supposed to rain like cats and dogs during the game. If you want to succeed in the playoffs, teams must be able to do two things well, stop the run and run the ball. Seattle's defense is ranked 30th in the NFL, allowing, on average, 150.2 yards per game. The 49ers are ranked 8th in the NFL in rushing the football, averaging 138.8 yards per game. Look for the 49ers to utilize all four running backs with a heavy dosage of Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell. Don't be surprised if Ty Davis-Price is higher on the depth chart than Jordan Mason, and look for Jordan Mason to get those attempts in goal-line situations. If the weather is as bad as it predicts, the running game will run all game long.

WIN on Third Downs

With the weather being a factor, the 49ers must find a way to win on third downs. Winning on third downs keeps the drive alive by keeping the offense on the field and, more importantly, keeping the Seahawk's defense on the field. The 49ers are a lateral type of throwing team instead of a vertical, so expect short passes such as screens to work in the 49ers' favor. This could be a massive game for Third and Jauan (Jauan Jennings). The more third-down conversions the 49ers complete, the more opportunities they will get to score.

SCORE Touchdowns in the Redzone

Expect the 49ers to fire on all cylinders. The rain won't affect quarterback Brock Purdy much, so expect the team to play a balanced game. Every opportunity the 49ers get in the red zone, they must score touchdowns. The 49ers are 54% in scoring touchdowns in the red zone. That's good news for the 49ers because the Seahawks are ranked 24th with a 59.6% in giving up touchdowns in the red zone. Therefore, the 49ers must put pressure on Seattle to score touchdowns. If the 49ers can dial it in on every opportunity in the red zone, they will be heading into the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

In Conclusion

Even though the 49ers swept the Seahawks in both matchups, 27-7 with Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 2 and 21-13 with Brock Purdy in Week 15, neither of those matchups matters. It's time to win or go home for one of the two teams on Super Wild Card Weekend. If the 49ers want to advance to the Divisional Round, they must stick to these five keys to victory.
  • Written by:
    Wayne Breezie is a 49ers content creator. He had his first guest appearance on Ronbosports in 2012. He began writing for a Facebook group called the League of the 49ers. Next, he began writing for Nothing But Niners in 2017. In 2018, Wayne Breezie made his debut on YouTube’s Nothing But Niners show. In 2019, he started his podcast called Nitty Gritty Niners. After putting the pen down for several years, Breezie saw an opportunity to write for His first published article was in January of 2022 with 49ersCap, and he currently writes and produces weekly podcasts.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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