Seattle arrives in town with the best record in the NFL following its impressive 34-7 dismantling of the Saints on Monday night. There is no question that Seattle is one of the elite teams in the league as the Seahawks are 0.5 yards per play better than average offensively (6.1 yards per play against teams that combine to allow 5.6 yards per play) and 0.7 yards per play better than average defensively (4.7 yards per play to teams that combine to average 5.4 yards per play). However, my power ratings also have San Francisco as one of the elite teams in the league, especially now that wide receiver Michael Crabtree has returned.
This game also presents a coaching mismatch as San Francisco general Jim Harbaugh is 10-2 SU and 11-1 ATS versus .700 or greater opposition, including 7-0 SU and ATS at home. In contrast, Seattle head coach Pete Carroll is a money-burning 3-11 SU and ATS on the road versus opponents off consecutive wins, including 0-5 SU and ATS as an underdog of less than seven points (all five losses by double-digits). Motivation will not be a factor for the 49ers as they are a perfect 9-0 ATS versus .751 or greater opposition over the last three season. San Francisco is also 8-2 ATS as a favorite and 7-1 ATS after the first month of the season this year.
From a fundamental standpoint, the 49ers are averaging 24.7 points per game at 7.1 yards per pass play, 5.5 yards per play and 12.6 yards per point. The return of Crabtree has sparked San Francisco’s attack as the 49ers are averaging 7.2 yards per pass attempt and 12.0 yards per point over the last couple of weeks. However, San Francisco’s strength remains its defense that is limiting opponents to 16.4 points per game on 3.9 yards per rush play, 5.8 yards per pass play and 5.0 yards per play. Harbaugh’s stop unit has excelled over the last three weeks wherein the 49ers are yielding just 14.0 points per game at 5.4 yards per pass attempt, 4.8 yards per play and 21.2 yards per point. Overall, San Francisco is 0.3 yards per rush play, 0.9 yards per pass attempt and 0.6 yards per play better than average defensively this season, which is good enough to neutralize the Seahawks’ attack.
San Francisco Defense vs. Seattle Offense:
- +0.1 yards per rush play advantage
- -0.7 yards per pass attempt disadvantage
- +0.1 yards per play advantage overall
San Francisco also catches a break in that Seattle wide receiver Percy Harvin has been ruled out due to soreness in his surgically repaired hip. Finally, the 49ers are projected to have better field position as they are averaging 21.6 yards per kick return this season, whereas Seattle is averaging just 16.7 yards per kick return on the road. Moreover, the Seahawks are giving up 24.3 yards per kick-off, whereas San Francisco is allowing just 19.5 yards per kick return. With San Francisco looking to avenge its humiliating 29-3 loss at Seattle back in September, I recommend a solid wager on the 49ers Sunday afternoon.