Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports


49ers vs. Seahawks: 5 Week 13 storylines to watch for San Francisco

Dec 2, 2018 at 8:27 AM0


The San Francisco 49ers will look to end a long losing streak in Seattle when they visit the Seahawks in Week 13. Let's look at some key storylines to watch during this NFC West bout.


The last time the San Francisco 49ers beat the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field was back on Dec. 24, 2011. Judging by the odds makers, that elongated losing streak isn't about to change when the Niners visit Seattle in Week 13.

According to Odds Shark, head coach Kyle Shanahan's squad enters this contest as 10-point underdogs. And while the Seahawks are no longer the dominant force they once were not long ago, at 6-5, they're still clinging to a shot at making they playoffs. Meanwhile, the 2-9 49ers are still trying to regroup after an embarrassing road loss to the not-so-great Tampa Bay Buccaneers a week ago.

Let's look at what will be some key storylines for San Francisco from this contest.

Richard Sherman Returns to Seattle


When the schedule makers set this Week 13 bout to a prime-time contest, they probably envisioned a desperate fight between two good teams and a prime-time feature with former Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman returning to the spot where he tormented Niners fans for years.

It's no longer a prime-time contest, the game having been flexed out of Sunday Night Football. But that doesn't change the significance of the event after Seattle parted ways with Sherman during the offseason.

"You just expect after you've done so much for a franchise that they wouldn't cut you while your hurt," Sherman said of his Seattle tenure, via NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco. "It's more of a respect thing than anything. But they did, so you got to roll with the business."

Sherman, who has yet to record an interception with the 49ers and is coming off his worst game of the season last week in Tampa Bay, will look to find some success against his former teammate, quarterback Russell Wilson.

Oh, and Sherman's reception in Seattle will be something to watch too.

Defending Russell Wilson


Speaking of Wilson, the Niners defense will certainly have its hands full with the Seahawks quarterback.

Wilson is besting his numbers from a year ago, currently completing 66.7 percent of his passes and posting a 112.0 passer rating. Yet Seattle's offensive line, despite parting ways with former O-line coach Tom Cable, still ranks 29th in pass protection, according to Football Outsiders.

Still, Wilson remains the master at evading pressure, getting out of the pocket and capitalizing on broken plays. This could be especially problematic for San Francisco's secondary, particularly cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, who is prone to giving up big plays each and every week. It's also compounded by what's still a woeful 49ers pass rush, which only recorded one sack on Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston in Week 12.

Winston took advantage of some big plays too.

Nick Mullens in a Hostile Environment


Quarterback Nick Mullens didn't look sharp at all in his first-ever NFL road contest, going 18-of-22 for 221 yards with a touchdown against two interceptions, posting a passer rating of 62.1 in the process against Tampa Bay.

Raymond James Stadium wasn't exactly rocking either, many of the stands were empty and crowd noise was at a minimum.

That won't be the case at CenturyLink Field, unfortunately. Sherman's return all but guarantees a sold-out stadium. And unlike the Buccaneers, Seattle boasts a halfway decent pass defense, allowing a total of 2,622 passing yards on the season, which is good for 13th overall entering Week 13.

"I've played in a lot of the most prominent stadiums in the country as far as college football goes," Mullens said earlier this week. "So yeah, obviously it has the reputation that it has in CenturyLink, and it's going to be cool to play there. But, we're excited and ready to attack the opportunity and really just focus on us and how we execute."

Shanahan indicated he plans on sticking with Mullens for the time being. A poor performance against the Seahawks could change things, however.

An Emerging Dante Pettis


After an injury-prone, underachieving start to his rookie year, wide receiver Dante Pettis came on in Week 12 with four receptions for 77 yards and a touchdown.

Pettis, San Francisco's second-round pick from the 2018 NFL Draft, should get more looks against the Seahawks, particularly with fellow wideouts Pierre Garçon (knee) and Marquise Goodwin (personal) all but ruled out for the game.

Now fully healthy, Pettis' route-running efforts were on full display last week, albeit against a bad Buccaneers secondary:


Having played his college ball at the nearby University of Washington, it'll be interesting to see what added motivation Pettis has over the course of this contest.

Running Back Matt Breida a Game Changer


As broken down over at Niner Noise earlier, running back Matt Breida should be a key X-factor for the 49ers in Seattle.

The skinny is this: Breida is good at running the football, while the Seahawks aren't good at preventing running backs from doing so. Breida is averaging 5.8 yards per carry, which is tied for second best in the NFL right now. And it's even more impressive considering he's dealt with more than a handful of injuries, including an ankle injury, which landed him on the team's injury report this week.

Breida and the Niners ground game has a juicy opportunity this week. Heading into Week 13, no other team is allowing more yards per carry than Seattle -- 5.3, which ranks dead worst in the NFL. And while the Seahawks defense is about middle of the pack, overall, Shanahan putting a lot of emphasis on Breida and the running game should be a top offensive priority.

It also helps Breida could rush for 100-plus yards for the third week in a row. If he does, the Niners stand an outside chance at pulling off an improbable upset.

The 49ers and Seahawks kick off Sunday, Dec. 2 at 4:25 p.m. ET from CenturyLink Field.
  • Written by:
    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.
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.


0 Comments

  • No Comments

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



Updated: San Francisco 49ers vs. Indianapolis Colts odds and pick - Week 7, 2021

By Winston Chung
Oct 19

The San Francisco 49ers will be coming out of their bye week and attempting to snap a three game losing streak when they host the improving Indianapolis Colts in prime time. Here we discuss the odds and analysis from a betting perspective. When: Sunday October 24th, 2021 at 5:20pm PT (NBC) Where: Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California Line: 49ers -3.5; over/under 42 Indianapolis Colts The Indianapolis Colts have won two out of their last three contests, including a 31-3 smashing of the Houston Texans in Week 6. Carson Wentz is quietly proving his doubters wrong with 3 straight weeks of throwing for two touchdown passes and zero interceptions and posted the highest Pro Football Focus grade among all quarterbacks in



San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears odds and pick - Week 8, 2021

By Winston Chung
9 hrs

The San Francisco 49ers' stock continues to drop and the possibility of the playoffs becomes more elusive after losing their fourth straight game. But the Niners do not have time to feel sorry for themselves as they must now travel to the Windy City to take on another desperate team in the Chicago Bears. Here we discuss the odds and analysis from a betting perspective. When: Sunday October 31st, 2021 at 10:00am PT (FOX) Where: Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois Line: 49ers -3; over/under 39.5 Chicago Bears This Chicago Bears are coming off of a humiliating 3-38 loss at Tampa Bay where Justin Fields was intercepted three times, sacked four times and unable to facilitate the team scoring a single



49ers-Colts: How to watch, stream, and listen to the Week 7 matchup

By Site Staff
Oct 20

The San Francisco 49ers (2-3) are coming off their bye week and will host the Indianapolis Colts (2-4) on Sunday night. The Colts are making their first regular-season trip to Levi's Stadium. It's the first time the 49ers have hosted the Colts since September 22, 2013. San Francisco looks to snap a three-game losing streak. The Arizona Cardinals beat the 49ers 10-17 at State Farm Stadium during Week 5. San Francisco's offense rushed for a season-high 152 yards during the game, with quarterback Trey Lance rushing for a game-high 89 yards on 16 carries (5.6 average). That was the most rushing yards by a 49ers quarterback in a single game since Colin Kaepernick rushed for 113 yards on 10 carries against Miami on November 27, 2016. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel registered three



Golden Nugget Award: This week's winner should excite the 49ers fanbase

By Sasha D. Robinson
Oct 13

Week 5's Golden Nugget Award winner goes to defensive tack D.J. Jones. The other nominees for this week's award are quarterback Trey Lance for his first NFL start, defensive end Nick Bosa, linebacker Fred Warner for his dominance on defense, and punter Mitch Wishnowsky for his 48.5 punt average in the loss against the Arizona Cardinals, dropping the San Francisco 49ers to 2-3. The former Ole Miss Rebel did not have a dominant performance in the game but his sack on Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray in the first quarter had Twitter erupted. OhMyGoodness DJ


Featured

More by Peter Panacy

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone