The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Eric Umphrey
The Times 

Inside the matchup: Seahawks vs. 49ers


December 31, 2020

With last week’s win over the Rams, the Seahawks have won the NFC West and are guaranteed the #3 seed for the NFL playoffs. They can move up to the #2 seed with either a Saints or Packers loss this week or to the #1 seed if both teams lose their games this week. The NFL smartly groups the last games of the season into time-slots so teams won’t know the outcome of other games critical to their playoff chances. The Saints, Packers, and Seahawk games all start at the same time on Sunday. The Green Bay Packers game against the Chicago Bears will be interesting since the Packers are playing for the #1 seed and a first-round bye while the Bears need the win just to make the playoffs. The Saints and Seahawks opponents have already been eliminated.

Seattle travels to San Francisco to play the 49ers this week. With San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo unavailable, the 49ers have been giving playing time to C.J. Beathard. He was great against Arizona last week, compiling 200 total yards and throwing three touchdowns in the win. Beathard has played a total of 18 games in his NFL career with 17 touchdowns to go with 13 interceptions and eight fumbles.

The story of the 49ers season has been injuries. Just like the last time these teams played in week eight, San Francisco has several key players out with injuries. More than a dozen players are either on the injured reserve list or listed as out for this week’s game. Former Seahawk Richard Sherman is out with a calf injury and has likely played his last game as a 49er. Wide receivers Deebo Samuel and top receiver Brandon Aiyuk are also out. Second-string quarterback Nick Mullens is also out.

With all of the injuries, expect a lot of the offense to go through a now healthy Jeff Wilson Jr. Wilson was injured the last time these two teams played but has recovered and had a big week against Arizona, rushing for 183 yards on only 22 carries last week.

This is undoubtedly another winnable game for the Seahawks. The question is how long the coaching staff will keep the starters in this game if the Packers and Saints get out to big leads early in their games. My guess is that Russell Wilson will play the first half, and there will be a lot of scoreboard watching to see how the other games are progressing. Having healthy players for the playoffs has to be the top priority.


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