Seahawks 49’ers Thursday Preview

IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE, SEATTLE/SAN FRANCISCO NO LONGER A BATTLE OF NFC SUPERPOWERS!

Seahawks/Niners had developed into one of the best NFL rivalries of the new millennium. Both teams reached recent Super Bowls...while having to climb over the other guy to get there. Both teams had young quarterbacks who were seemingly on track to have long, successful careers with their first franchises. These two NFC West rivals were going to be knocking heads for years to come in IMPORTANT regular season and playoff showdowns.

Suddenly, this Thursday night's first meeting of 2015 isn't about the playoffs. It's about staying in the playoff discussion! Both the Niners and Seahawks enter the game with 2-4 records. Thursday's loser will almost be eliminated from the race already because they'd have to close absolutely on fire to reach 10 victories.

What happened?! Let's look for clues in JIM HURLEY'S key indicator stats...

Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
Seattle: 2-4 (#8 ranked schedule according to Sagarin)
San Francisco: 2-4 (#2 ranked schedule according to Sagarin)

Part of the problem is that both teams have played tough schedules. Stick them in the AFC South, and we may still be looking at winning teams. Well, that's very likely for Seattle. San Francisco had seemed on the brink of destruction not too long ago...but is playing better the last two weeks. Most respected Power Ratings still have Seattle as a playoff caliber team. Some even consider the Seahawks still second best to Green Bay in the NFC even with this record! For the purposes of today's analysis...strength of schedule is the first obvious anvil.

Yards-Per-Play
Seattle: 5.6 on offense, 5.2 on defense
San Francisco: 5.3 on offense, 6.2 on defense

Here you can see San Francisco's early collapse. They were getting dominated at the point of attack until getting things moving vs. the NY Giants and Baltimore. A -0.9 differential is poor even if you adjust for schedule strength. Seattle is still +0.4 against a tough schedule...which is consistent with Power Ratings that still respect them. Even though both teams are 2-4 in the standings, this stat is suggesting Seattle is the much superior team.

Turnover Differential
Seattle: +1
San Francisco: -2

It's not clear so far why Seattle is losing. They're plus YPP differential and up one turnover on the year. That shouldn't be 2-4. Clearly a play or two here or there are looming large. You can deduce that from the last two weeks where Seattle blew late leads vs. Cincinnati and Carolina. If they had held on...that's a 4-2 record instead of 2-4. San Francisco was mistake-prone early...but seems to be executing much more effectively of late.

Market Performance
Seattle: 1-4-1 ATS
San Francisco: 3-3 ATS

Seattle has played in the last two Super Bowls...which means the market is going to price them as championship material no matter what's happening on the field. They've taken a step or two back from recent peaks. Backers could only make money if the team kept breathing fire (as New England did prior to Sunday's non-cover at Indy). San Francisco was 1-3 ATS before covering those last two improved performances.

Current Line: Seattle by 5.5, total of 41

Seattle is the visitor...so you can see that the market is looking at overall stats, and giving residual respect for the last two NFC Championships. Seattle would be about -8 on a neutral field, and around -10 to -11 at home given that price. Honestly, it's a price that can't be justified if you're looking only at the last two weeks. It makes a lot more sense if you think Seattle is about to embarrass someone in a season where San Francisco is still doomed regardless of a couple of good efforts.

Is the market right that "the last two weeks never happened" from the 49ers perspective? Or, did San Francisco get things figured out just as Seattle's players decided it isn't going to be their year. Definitely some extreme volatility in play here. A championship caliber version of Seattle would crush the 49ers group that lost so badly at Pittsburgh and Arizona. Yet, the version that was lucky to beat lowly Detroit before losing to Cincinnati and Carolina might be in for a battle with an improved Niners squad. Which way should YOU go?

JIM HURLEY makes it his business to answer that question for his clients. He's been working with his full team of experts to make sure customers get the right side (or total). Of course, that's true in baseball too...which you can win Tuesday and Wednesday as we wait for the NFL to come back around! You can always purchase BEST BETS in all sports right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 during normal business hours between now and Thursday's kickoff.

Big game TV previews will pick up again Friday with a marquee college attraction. Then, it's back to the NFL spotlight. Coming up in the NOTEBOOK...

*College Football TV Preview...#3 Utah at USC
*NFL Sunday Night TV Preview...Philadelphia at Carolina
*NFL Monday Night TV Preview...Baltimore at Arizona
*NFL Thursday Night TV Preview...Miami at New England

Seattle and San Francisco are learning that's very hard to STAY a champion once you've become one. That's why JIM HURLEY'S handicapping career has been so amazing. STILL THE BEST closing in on THREE DECADES! Be sure you GET THE MONEY again this week with JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK!

18
Nov

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