San Francisco enters Monday Night's matchup against the Seahawks with a perfect record (8-0) and an 11 day rest.

The Seahawks (7-2) are coming off an overtime win against Tampa Bay. Russell Wilson is playing as well as any quarterback right now and could be the league's MVP. Regardless of any statistical measure concerning their team offense or defense, the Seahawks are going to make life difficult for the 49ers as the division could be at stake.

If San Francisco wins, it will be 9-0 and will jump three games ahead of Seattle and the Rams. If Seattle wins, the race will be much tougher.

As far as injuries, tight end George Kittle and kicker Robbie Gould are listed as doubtful and might sit in order to heal up and avoid long-term injuries. The good news is tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey are back, as well as fullback Kyle Juszczyk, which will greatly help the run game and the pass protection. Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon could also be back but currently is listed as questionable.

The Seahawks had everyone off the injury report, including defensive end Jadaveon Clowney.

Here are five keys to winning this game:

Where and When: Monday, November 11 at 5:15 PM PST at Levi's Stadium

1) Be Balanced on Offense



Overall, the 49ers have led a balanced attack on offense, spearheaded by their running game. This has greatly helped them control the clock, stay on the field, and ultimately, grind out victories.

This game must be no different. With tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey returning, along with star fullback Kyle Juszczyk, the run game should be able to wear down Seattle's defense.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo should be able to work out of play action and find open receivers to extend drives on third down. However, against Seattle, with this much on the line, Garoppolo needs to take a few shots down the field the way he has during his last two games. If the 49ers are able to get chunk plays from the running game and connect on a couple long passing plays, Seattle's defense will have a very difficult time responding.

2) Do Not Allow the Big Play



Russell Wilson is the best quarterback in the NFL and what he does best is work off the play action, roll out and extend plays. Many of these go for big yardage, especially in the biggest of moments. This is what the 49ers need to prevent. Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf are the two biggest threats in this area, but Josh Gordon could make an impact. The bottom line with Russell Wilson is he puts players in position to make these sorts of plays and it will be up to the 49ers defense to stop him.

The ground game for Seattle is also one of its biggest weapons. Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny have been very good so far and will test the 49ers' young linebacker corps. If the Niners can limit what Seattle does on the ground, it will be more difficult for Wilson to set up defensive backs for giving up big plays.

Finally, the obvious remedy to big passing gains is to pressure Russell Wilson into throwaways, sacks, and incompletions. The good news for the 49ers is they are easily the best in the NFL against the pass.

3) Win the Turnover Battle



The 49ers have been able to win some difficult games, despite giving the ball away 12 times this year. While they have forced 16 turnovers (4th in the NFL), the differential, though positive, is only +4. In a game like this, the offense cannot afford to give the ball to Russell Wilson and allow a short field.

It has been admirable to see the 49ers battle through games, despite turnovers. They gave up five against Pittsburgh and found a way to win at the end. They gave up two big ones against the Rams and again, found a way to score 20 unanswered points and grind out the victory. Against the Seahawks, they may not be able to overcome those kinds of mistakes.

On the other side, they need to force at least one big turnover and convert it into a touchdown with the offense. Not only will the 49ers need to take care of the football on offense, but the defense needs to put Garoppolo in good field position. Winning the turnover battle will give the team a huge chance to win.

4) Don't Let the Game Come Down to the Kicker



Robbie Gould may not play due to a strained quad. If he misses the game, the 49ers will be turning to Chase McLaughlin, who filled in nicely in Los Angeles for the Chargers. He was 7 for 7 on PATs and 6 for 9 on field goals. It doesn't matter. The game must not come down to the kicker if Gould is not playing. It will be up to the offense to find a way to outscore Seattle by at least a touchdown.

5) Continue to Win on Third Down.



Converting on third down has been the strength of the passing attack, especially late in games when the 49ers have needed to chew up the clock to protect the lead.

This game will be no different. San Francisco needs to find ways to give Jimmy Garoppolo time to find the open man on third down. If it does that consistently and most of all in the fourth quarter, the Niners will have a terrific chance to come away with a win.

On the flip side, if the defense has opportunities to get off the field by stopping Wilson on third down, it must take advantage of them.

Prediction



This game will be tougher than the Rams game simply because Russell Wilson is the best in the business. The 49ers will have their issues in this game but will find a way to grind out another victory.

Expect great adjustments from Coach Shanahan and a defense that rises to the occasion. Jimmy Garoppolo will also play better than people are giving him credit for.

49ers 31, Seahawks 27