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Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers preview: Wild Card predictions, odds and matchups

Two NFC West teams in that of the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers will open up NFL Wild Card Weekend in Santa Clara Saturday afternoon in a game pitting bitter rivals against one another.

Seattle inched into the playoffs with a 9-8 record after narrowly defeating the Los Angeles Rams and seeing the Detroit Lions upset the Green Bay Packers in Week 18. As for Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers, they head into the postseason with 10 consecutive wins and will look to make history in the playoffs.

Related: Sportsnaut’s NFL Playoff and Super Bowl predictions

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers odds

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Here are the latest odds for this NFL Wild Card Game via BetMGM.

  • Spread: San Francisco 49ers -9.5
  • Moneyline: San Francisco 49ers (-500), Seattle Seahawks (+375)
  • Point total: 42 points

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers game info

san francisco 49ers and seattle seahawks preview
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s how to watch this NFL Wild Card Game, TV info and broadcast time.

  • Date: Saturday, January 14
  • Time: 4:30 PM ET
  • TV Info: FOX
  • Location: Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA

Related: Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers standing in our NFL power rankings

3 matchups to watch in NFL Wild Card Game

Let’s check in on some major matchups for this playoff game set to take place in Northern California Saturday afternoon.

Geno Smith vs Brock Purdy

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

This individual matchup might be among the most-intriguing of the NFL Wild Card Playoffs. Smith took over for Russell Wilson as the Seattle Seahawks’ starting quarterback after the franchise legend was dealt to the Denver Broncos during the offseason. There weren’t any real expectations for the veteran journeyman.

After all, Smith had thrown all of 34 touchdowns against 37 interceptions in his first nine NFL seasons after the New York Jets made the West Virginia product a second-round pick back in 2013. Boy, did Smith prove the naysayers wrong in leading Seattle to a surprising playoff appearance.

Smith, 32, will now be tasked with taking on a 49ers defense that yielded the fewest points in the NFL during the regular season while recording as many interceptions (20) as passing touchdowns allowed.

As for Purdy, his story is even more insane. The former Iowa State star had the distinction of being “Mr. Irrelevant” in the 2022 NFL Draft, meaning he was the last player selected in the annual event. All he has done since take over for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo is lead San Francisco to a perfect 5-0 record with the team averaging 33.8 points per game. Purdy’s stats are absolutely insane heading into the NFL Wild Card Playoffs.

Purdy finished the regular season with the highest quarterback rating for a rookie in league history. He is also first in QB rating in the NFL since taking over as a starter (112.0). Will the postseason prove to be too much for this rookie to handle? We don’t think so.

But San Francisco is looking to make history with him starting. Only the 1972 Miami Dolphins and 2003 New England Patriots finished seasons with 14 consecutive wins in NFL history. In the midst of a 10-game streak, San Francisco will be relying on Purdy to do his thing.

Related: Ranking NFL Playoff defenses

Kenneth Walker vs San Francisco 49ers run defense

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco’s defense ranked second in the NFL against the run this past regular season, yielding an average of 77.7 yards per game. The leading single rusher against DeMeco Ryans’ defense came back in Week 17 when NFL rushing champion Josh Jacobs put up 69 yards in an overtime 49ers win.

Walker himself put up a total of 57 yards on 16 rushes in two games against San Francisco. The star rookie is coming off three consecutive 100-yard rushing performances to conclude the regular season. In short, Seattle will need this type of balance if it is going to hang with San Francisco and limit the 49ers’ offense. It would also limit Smith throwing too much into the teeth of a defense that tied for the league high in interceptions with 20 during the regular year.

Christian McCaffrey vs Seattle Seahawks linebackers

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Christian McCaffrey going up against linebackers and safeties as a receiver is just unfair. That’s been taken to a whole new level under Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco since he was acquired in-season from the Carolina Panthers.

In 11 games with the 49ers, McCaffrey has hauled in 52-of-65 targets (80%). San Francisco quarterbacks boast a 116.9 passer rating when targeting him. With Shanahan able to create a ton of mismatches due to his personnel, it’s going to be key for Seahawks defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt to plan accordingly.

Unfortunately, Seattle’s defensive personnel doesn’t match up too great here. Star Seahawks linebacker Jordyn Brooks is sidelined with a torn ACL. The onus will now be on reserve Tanner Muse to line up next to Cody Barton come Saturday afternoon. A converted safety, Muse saw all of 80 snaps on defense during the regular year. Barton? Well, he yielded an 86% completion mark when targeted in 2022. That’s fun.

Related: Ranking NFL Playoff offenses

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers prediction

NFL: Houston Texans at San Francisco 49ers
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a reason why San Francisco opened as double-digit favorites in this one. The team has been demolishing opponents during its 10-game winning streak.

Sure things can get funky in a rivalry postseason game. Beating a team three times in a season is not an easy task, either. San Francisco found that out first-hand when it lost to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game last January after sweeping the eventual Super Bowl champs in the regular season.

What we do know is that Shanahan has too many weapons at his disposal for a Seahawks team that ranked in the bottom eight of the NFL in points allowed to limit in this one. The 49ers are averaging 36 points per game at home with Purdy under center. Seattle gave up nearly 30 points per on the road during the regular season. You can do the math from there.

  • Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 34, Seattle Seahawks 17