SNF - 49ers at Seahawks
December 21, 2012
By Kevin Rogers
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Several division titles have been clinched, but the NFC West crown is up for grabs heading into Week 16. The Seahawks are scoring points at a rapid pace, while needing victories in each of the final two weeks to jump the 49ers for the division championship. The positive news for Seattle is its final pair of games comes at the friendly confines of CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks own a terrific 6-0 SU/ATS record.
San Francisco plays on the Sunday night stage for the second straight week after holding off New England, 41-34 as four-point underdogs. The Niners went into Foxboro and grabbed a 31-3 edge, but the Patriots managed to tie the game by scoring 28 unanswered points. Jim Harbaugh's club scored 10 straight points to take the lead for good, including a Michael Crabtree touchdown catch with less than seven minutes to go in regulation. In spite of allowing 443 yards passing to Tom Brady, the Niners received four touchdown passes from Colin Kaepernick, all from 24 yards or more.
Seattle is finding many different ways to light up the scoreboard recently by scoring 108 points combined in victories over Arizona and Buffalo. The Seahawks' defense contributed to that total by scoring three touchdowns, while rookie quarterback Russell Wilson rushed for three scores in the blowout of the Bills in Toronto. Both victories were never in doubt, as the Seahawks scored 38 first-half points against the Cardinals, followed up by a 31-point effort in the first 30 minutes in last Sunday's rout of Buffalo.
Pete Carroll's team is cashing tickets at a tremendous pace, covering eight of the last 10 games, while going 4-1 ATS the past five opportunities as a favorite. The Seahawks' domination at home is unmatched this season with four of the six victories coming by double-digits, as the defense held the opposition to 12 points or less four times. After starting the season at 6-1 to the 'under,' Seattle has turned into an 'over' machine in six of the last seven games.
The 49ers enter this contest with a 10-3-1 record, while trying to avoid a playing during Wild Card weekend. Both Atlanta and Green Bay are vying with San Francisco for two of three byes in the first round of the NFC playoffs, but so many things can change as far as potential first round matchups with the NFC West and NFC East races in the air. All tiebreakers for the 49ers are basically thrown out the window thanks to a Week 10 tie with the Rams, even though San Francisco did take care of Green Bay in the season opener at Lambeau Field.
In the last meeting at Candlestick Park in Week 7, the Niners topped the Seahawks in a Thursday night affair, 13-7. Seattle managed to cover as 7 ½-point underdogs, but Seahawks' backers can thank Harbaugh as he declined a late safety that would have given San Francisco an eight-point lead. The reasoning behind the decline closed the door to any potential recovery of an onside kick by Seattle in the final seconds. Frank Gore and Marshawn Lynch each eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark, but the lone touchdown was scored by Delanie Walker in the third quarter to give San Francisco the lead for good.
The home team has taken six of the last seven matchups, as the 49ers pulled out a 19-17 victory last Christmas Eve at Seattle as one-point favorites. Harbaugh owns a 3-0 record against his former Pac-10 nemesis Carroll on the pro level, while Harbaugh's Stanford club beat Carroll's powerful USC team two of three times from 2007-09.
Heading into the final Sunday night contest of the season, favorites put together a 9-6-1 ATS record, while the 'under' is 10-6 in these games. The home team has won 10 of 16 games on Sunday nights, as the six division contests have been split in this situation.
The 49ers are listed as one-point road favorites, even though there are several books offering the game at pick-em. The total is set between 39 and 39 ½ at most outlets, as the game can be seen nationally on NBC at 8:30 PM EST.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.
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