The Seahawks are 9.5 point underdogs for tomorrow’s Wild Card game against the 49ers. A lot goes into those odds, but the main reason they’re such heavy underdogs is the lopsided matchup between Seattle’s respectable-enough offense and San Francisco’s supervillain-level defense. The Niners finished the regular season having allowed the league’s fewest yards per game (300.6), fewest points per game (16.3) and ranked first in defensive DVOA (-14.1%).
Upsetting a heavyweight like this particular 49ers team requires a total team effort, but most important of all the Seahawks offense will have to perform much better than the 10 points per game they averaged against their NFC West rivals in the regular season.
There is hope, though. The team finished the regular season trending in the right direction in some ways. Here are three encouraging stats about Seattle’s offense from Doug Farrar’s Secret Superstars of the Wild Card round list.
RB Ken Walker:
“Walker ended the regular season with three straight high-volume games in which he ran the ball at least 23 times for at least 107 yards in each game. Walker has the NFL’s most rushing attempts (78) and the most rushing yards (354) in that three-game stretch, which is exactly what you’d expect from a back Pete Carroll trusts.”
QB Geno Smith:
“Geno Smith has been especially transcendent on deep passes with two tight ends in the formation, with an NFL-high eight completions and four touchdowns of 20 or more air yards.”
LG Damien Lewis:
“The Arizona Cardinals ate Lewis’ lunch for two sacks in Week 6, but Lewis has allowed just one sack since then — and since Week 14, he’s given up no sacks, one quarterback hit, and three quarterback hurries. That’s with everything collapsing around him at a relative rate.”
Meanwhile on defense, the Seahawks will need to get pressure on Brock Purdy. If they can do that and run the ball effectively, they might just have a chance to not get blown out for a third time this year.
Kickoff is 1:30 p.m. Pacific.