Two of the NFL’s best young quarterbacks in Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson highlight Sunday night’s NFC West clash as the Seattle Seahawks host the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field.
Both teams battled for the NFC West crown last season, with San Francisco winning its second straight division title by a half game and heading to the Super Bowl. The Seahawks re-entered the playoff race after a year away, and nearly faced the 49ers in the NFC title game.
The wise-and-experienced beyond their years passers prevailed in early tests last week. The primetime matchup features Kaepernick after a 412-yard passing performance and 34-28 victory against Green Bay, and Wilson gutting out Seattle’s 12-7 opener versus Carolina.
Kept largely in the pocket, Kaepernick showed poise in just his ninth career regular season start with three touchdown passes. He guided the 49ers to a 13-point fourth quarter for the win over the Packers.
Newest San Francisco receiver Anquan Boldin hauled in 13 receptions for 208 receiving yards and a touchdown, and tight end Vernon Davis had two touchdowns and 98 yards receiving. Frank Gore added 44 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Their running game also largely neutralized by Carolina, Wilson was asked to shoulder the Seahawks offense and completed a 43-yard touchdown strike to Jermaine Kearse to seal the win. Wilson finished with a career-high 320 passing yards, and receiver Doug Baldwin had seven catches for 91 yards.
Neither team’s defense was especially dominant like last year’s incarnations. Seattle only surrendered 253 total yards, but most of that came off 134 Panther rushing yards. In 2012, Seattle was 10th in the league against the run.
Meanwhile the 49ers secondary showed some signs of weakness, letting up 322 passing yards at 8.7 yards per attempt. Last year, they were second in the league in pass defense, and may have shown signs of missing Dashon Goldson.
The Seahawks may have to go without defensive end Chris Clemons, who is questionable with a knee injury, and safety Jeron Johnson is doubtful with a hamstring strain.
San Francisco reserve running back LaMichael James is also questionable, while the shifting of linebacker Nick Moody to injured reserve earlier this week takes some depth away from the middle of the 49ers defense.
The game begins at 8:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast by NBC or watch a live online stream at SNF All Access here.
Betting Odds: Seattle is favored by 3 points.
Over/Under: 44.5 points
Prediction: Seattle 23, San Francisco 17