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49ers Primed to Rebound vs. Seahawks in Thursday Night’s NFC-West Showdown

Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE

The San Francisco 49ers have a bitter taste in their mouth after getting obliterated by the New York Giants on Sunday, in a stunning 26-3 defeat.   Though, losses like these can serve as an easy reminder of how teams can get ahead of themselves.  And head coach Jim Harbaugh, the master of motivational speeches, can spin the hard-felt loss into something much bigger.

Since he’s come into the league, Harbaugh has managed to lose only five games (17-5), none of which came consecutively.  His fifth opportunity will come on Thursday night against the visiting Seattle Seahawks, where he’ll look to keep that statistic intact.

The Niners are a tough team to beat, no matter which way you look at them.  Their defense ranks as one of the best in the league behind linebackers Patrick Willis and Novarro Bowman, who are picking up just where they left off in their spectacular 2011 season.  On the offensive side, Alex Smith and the new additions of wide receivers Randy Moss and Mario Manningham have proven key been key to stretch the field and keep defenses honest against their team’s fierce running game.

Let’s take a look at Harbaugh’s games following a loww.  In four contests, the Niners have averaged 23.25 points per game, while the defense has only allowed an astounding 2.75 points per game.  That’s less than a field for those number dyslexic.  Plus, they’ve only alloted around 60 yards on the ground, 170 yards in the air and generated 13 turnovers.  Still, four games is a relatively small sample size, but they’ve done it against such teams as the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets, all of which are more than just your average team.

But don’t discount Seattle.  They’ve had a breakout year with rookie Russell Wilson under center.  The former Wisconsin-product has put up some spectacular numbers with the help of Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin reeling in catches like their dipping their gloves in sticky glue.  And the defense has shown promise, highlighted by their stunning 24-23 win over the New England Patriots last Sunday.

This is sure to be the NFC matchup of the week.  If the Niners lose, their future as an elite playoff team will come under scrutiny.  But I don’t see the game falling that way.  Look for San Francisco to topple their seven point underdogs at home on Thursday at Candlestick Park (with the spread) to put them back on top of the NFC-West.

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