For several years, the NFC West has been considered one of the weakest division in the NFL. In 2012, that’s no longer the case.
There’s a three-way tie for first place in the loop with Seattle, San Francisco and Arizona sporting 4-2 records, while St. Louis is just one game back with a 3-3 ledger.
On Thursday at Candlestick Park, the 49ers will take on the Seahawks as seven-point home favorites at most betting shops. As of Wednesday afternoon, the total was 37 ½ for ‘over/under’ wagers. Gamblers can take Seattle (4-2 straight up, against the spread) on the money line for a plus-260 return (risk $100 to win $260).
Pete Carroll’s team pulled out another comeback win over an elite team at home last week. Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson threw a pair of touchdown passes in the final seven minutes to lead the Seahawks to a 24-23 victory over New England as 3 ½-point home underdogs.
Wilson found Braylon Edwards for a 10-yard scoring strike to cut the deficit to 23-17 midway through the final stanza. Then with 1:18 remaining, Wilson hit Sidney Rice with a perfectly-thrown post pattern for a 46-yard touchdown pass with 77 ticks left.
Wilson completed 16-of-27 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. For the season, the Wisconsin product has connected on 62.5 percent of his throws for 1,108 yards with an 8/6 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Marshawn Lynch leads the Seahawks in rushing with 549 yards and two TDs, averaging 4.3 yards per carry.
San Francisco (4-2 SU, 4-2 ATS) will be looking to bounce back from its worst performance of the season, a 26-3 loss against the Giants as a seven-point home favorite. Alex Smith threw three interceptions and may have been bothered by the injury to the middle finger on his throwing hand suffered the previous week.
The 49ers lead the NFL in rushing with an average of 176.5 yards per game, but the G-Men held them to just 70 yards on the ground.
The loss dropped Jim Harbaugh’s team to 2-1 both SU and ATS at home.
Smith has completed 67.7 percent of his passes for 1,287 yards with an 8/4 TD-INT ratio. Vernon Davis has 23 catches for 340 yards and four TDs. Frank Gore leads the 49ers in rushing with 468 yards and four TDs, averaging 5.3 YPC.
San Francisco leads the NFL in total defense and is third in scoring defense, surrendering only 15.7 points per game. Seattle is fourth in total defense and second in scoring defense, allowing just 15.5 PPG.
Seattle has a 1-2 record both SU and ATS on the road this year. As a road underdog during Carroll’s three-year tenure, the Seahawks own a 7-7-2 spread record.
The 49ers were 9-0 ATS as home favorites on Harbaugh’s watch until last week’s outright loss and non-cover against the G-Men.
San Francisco OT Joe Staley (concussion) and back-up RB Brandon Jacobs (knee) are ‘questionable,’ while Seattle has a pair of defensive tackles (Jaye Howard and Clinton McDonald) that are question marks. Staley was on the practice field Tuesday but wore a non-contact jersey.
The ‘under’ is 5-1 overall for Seattle, 3-0 in its road assignments. The ‘under’ is 3-2-1 overall for San Francisco, 1-1-1 in its home games.
San Francisco has won three in a row over Seattle both SU and ATS, including a 33-17 home win and a 19-17 triumph on the road last year. The ‘over’ is 2-1-1 in the last four head-to-head meetings.
The NFL Network will provide television coverage at 8:25 p.m. Eastern. The weather forecast calls for fair skies with temperatures in the 60s and winds of 10-15 miles per hour.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
--San Francisco WR Randy Moss has made 11 receptions for 174 yards and one TD this year.
--Arizona QB Kevin Kolb is ‘out’ indefinitely with a sprained SC joint and cartilage damage to his ribs. The veteran signal caller led the Cardinals to a 4-0 start, but he has been sacked 22 times in the last three games. Kolb, who has an 8/3 TD-INT ratio, is expected to miss at least 2-3 games. John Skelton, who won the starting job in training camp only to suffer a sprained ankle in the season opener, will replace Kolb on Sunday at Minnesota. Skelton completed only 2-of-10 passes for 45 yards after replacing Kolb in last week’s 19-16 loss to Buffalo. He threw a costly interception in overtime that led to the Bills’ game-winning field goal.
--Atlanta is the NFL’s only undefeated team left after winning a 23-20 decision over Oakland thanks to Matt Bryant’s 55-yard field goal on the next-to-last play of the game. The Falcons, who are now 29-4 in 33 home games started by QB Matt Ryan, have an open date this week.
--There are four home underdogs on the Week 7 card. They are the Rams (+5.5 vs. Green Bay), Buccaneers (+3 vs. New Orleans), Panthers (+2 vs. Dallas) and Bengals (+2.5 vs. Pittsburgh).
--Highest total on the board: 50 for the Redskins at Giants.
--St. Louis owns the NFL’s best spread record at 5-1. The Bears and Bucs are both 4-1 versus the number.
--Detroit and Pittsburgh have the NFL’s worst spread records at 1-4.
--The ‘over’ is an NFL best 5-1 for the Redskins.
--The ‘under’ is an NFL-best 5-1 for both the Seahawks and Cardinals.
--Click here for my NFL Power Rankings going into Week 7.
Brian Edwards can be reached at email@example.com.
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