What's Hot: Seahawks 42, Eagles 0 - My team was playing on Monday Night Football and I was bored in the end of the third quarter. Unbelievable.
NSport's Nick Shelly gives his analysis and thoughts on Sunday's game with the 49'ers visiting the Qwest.
NSport.NET Analysis - San Francisco at Seattle - 12/11/2005
Recap from last week: The Seahawks are flying high (no pun intended) after a thorough pounding of the hapless Eagles on Monday night. Was it as grand as we say? Some analysts will tell you it was -- and I will agree to a certain extent. However, the great John Madden inevitably asked the question to the entire nation: are the Seahawks that good, or are the Eagles that bad. There are still doubters; even during the longest win streak in Seahawks history (8 straight, tied with 1984). My only observation -- are the 49ers getting line value from Vegas? We only have one question, do the Seahawks have the ability to cover the points?
Last week, I had the Seahawks covering - keep in mind I've hit every pick but one (if I remember correctly) this year concerning the Hawks - and the analysis was pretty close, with the exception of 3 defensive touchdowns and 6 turnovers. The offense only mustered one legit touchdown - everything else was on a very short field or gifts from Andre Dyson and Lofa Tutupu.
When the 49ers have the ball: What goes through a handicapper's mind when doing a game like this? My first thought concerns the ability for the offense to score the ball against the Seahawks defense. As they showed in San Francisco a couple weeks ago, they have the ability to beat our coverage. They do not have the ability to run against us. So this means an early deficit for the 49er offense followed by lots of passing. Normally for the Hawks, this means a soft Cover-2 or zone scheme that allows the 10-15 yard completion - provided the quarterback has accuracy.
Keep in mind that by the 2nd quarter, Seahawk fans will most likely be more concerned with food, drink, or warmth and we should see the most despondent crowd of the season at Qwest Field. Brandon Lloyd had a great game in his last appearance, and we saw against the Giants how the Seahawks have trouble with the athletic receiver. Lloyd had a great last game against Seattle, so it should be no surprise if it happens again. With Kevin Barlow a little banged up, Maurice Hicks could come in and shine - as he did in the last meeting against the Seahawks.
When the Seahawks have the ball: Look for a fast start by the Seahawks’ offense. A long, determined drive to start the game is exactly what the Seahawks need and want so they can shrink the playbook the rest of the game. After all, now is the time to start limiting plays so opposing teams in the playoffs will have less film to watch. The concern for this team continues to be at the wide receiver position, where they were stymied at Philadelphia producing only one big play -- another long reception by DJ Hackett.
Possibly the weather was a factor, but if the Seahawks are going to win in January, they need to get over this hurdle. Darrell Jackson could be back, and hopefully will be. The production from the wide receiver corps has been somewhat effective due to Shaun Alexander's success. We're sure it was no accident that Jerramy Stevens was involved early in the offense, and should see a heightened roll as the season continues. The pass rush for the 49ers should only be effective in 3rd and long situations, but we shouldn't see too many long yardage situations.
Vegas Line: Seattle (-16, 43)
San Francisco 0 3 7 7 - 17
Seattle .........14 7 7 0 - 28
Game Log: Typical early lead by the Seahawks in this one as they drive the field often against the 49ers. The defense and crowd should be riled up in the first half, but after giving up 3 in the first half and taking a comfortable lead into the second half, the soft defense becomes the norm and Mike Holmgren become concerned with killing clock and not taking risks. I don't think they will rest starters in this game, but don't look for anyone to do anything spectacular in the second half. San Francisco will summon some courage and attempt another comeback - worst part for those of you who picked the Seahawks with the points - the 49ers should provide a back-door cover.
Fantasy Alert: Limited yardage again for Alexander, but he should score at least once in this game. For the 49ers, you might find some love with Maurice Hicks as a sleeper!
ROCK’S FINAL THOUGHTS: Fans are taking the news of LB Jamie Sharper far too well. It's great that rookie LeRoy Hill has stepped up his game to fill the void over the past several games, but Sharper's presence will be missed most when it counts; in the postseason. He knows how to get it done when it counts, and a rookie simply can't bring that experience, an important intangable, to the table.
- Mark Olsen writes frequently for Seahawks.NET. Feel free to send him feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Nick Shelly has been a professional sports analyst and handicapper for over 10 years. You can contact Nick at email@example.com.