Wild Card Round: Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers Preview and Insights

Are you ready for some football? Playoff football! It’s the best time of the year in the NFL as the field begins to whittle down week to week until one team is left standing. The first chapter on the road to Super Bowl LVII begins on Wild Card Weekend with a game between NFC West rivals.

The 49ers come into this one as the hottest team in the NFL after reeling off ten straight wins. San Fran’s offense has gelled nicely after adding Christian McCaffrey despite losing Jimmy Garoppolo in unlucky Week 13. A new quarterback at the helm with Brock Purdy has not fazed San Fran. 

The Seattle defense actually held the Niners to just 21 points in their Week 15 head-to-head clash. The Seahawks came up short in the 21-13 loss, but it was by far the fewest points San Fran has scored under Purdy and showed that this team would not back down. 

Playing with house money, after trading franchise quarterback Russell Wilson in the offseason, the ‘Hawks looked to be in full rebuild mode. Someone forgot to tell Pete Carroll. The spry head coach instead led them to their tenth playoff spot in his 13 seasons steering the ship.

While Seattle is a big underdog, that’s nothing new to Geno Smith. Counted out for years, Smith’s turnaround has him as a co-favorite for NFL Comeback Player of the Year (+175 odds) with McCaffrey, who bounced back after two straight injury-plagued seasons. McCaffrey has a new lease on life in San Fran and, by far, had his best season since 2019.

Seattle Seahawks Insights:

  • The Seahawks are 7-2 (.778) when forcing at least one fumble this season, tied for tenth-best in NFL (league avg: .596).
  • The Seahawks are 5-3 (.625) when converting 55% or more of its Red Zone chances into touchdowns this season, tied for ninth-best.
  • The Seahawks are 8-2 (.800) when leading at the end of the first half this season, tied for tenth-best in NFL (league avg: .701).
  • Seattle Seahawks linebackers have missed 48 tackles on 632 opportunities (8%) since the 2021 season, the best in NFL.
  • The Seahawks have started five drives inside their own 20-yard line in the first quarter this season, tied for the 2nd-fewest in NFL.

San Francisco 49ers Insights:

  • The 49ers are undefeated (3-0) when within seven points at the two-minute warning his season, tied for best in NFL (league avg: .492).
  • When Brandon Aiyuk has more receptions than his average (4 rec), his team is 14-5 (.737) since the 2021 season, which is the sixth-best among 44 qualified NFL wide receivers (league avg: .483).
  • The 49ers are 9-2 (.818) when possessing the ball longer than their opponent this season, eighth-best in the NFL. The Seahawks have allowed an average time of possession of 32:13 (third-highest). 
  • The 49ers have allowed 3.9 scrimmage yards per touch (1,534 yards / 392 touches) to RBs this season, the best in NFL (league avg: 4.9).
  • San Francisco 49ers WRs averaged 15.4 yards per reception (2,763 yards/180 catches) last season, the best in NFL (league avg: 12.5).