Preview: Seahawks at 49ers

If there was ever a must-win game in Week 7 of the National Football League regular season, this would be it. On Thursday Night Football, the Seattle Seahawks will pay the San Francisco 49ers a visit at Levi’s Stadium.

Most imagined that these two teams would be on opposite ends of the standings spectrum before the season began. Seattle, coming off a second consecutive trip to the Super Bowl, was thought to once again be an elite team that could win a championship. San Francisco was looked at as a bottomfeeder, having lost Chris Borland, Justin Smith, Aldon Smith, Frank Gore, Mike Iupati, Patrick Willis, Chris Culliver and Michael Crabtree over the winter, to say nothing of head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Yet, after six weeks, the two teams are deadlocked at 2-4, tied for last place in the NFC West. So, who wins on Thursday? Here are a few things to consider…

Seattle can’t block

The Seahawks are having problems all over the field, and on both sides of the ball. However, the main concern has to be the amount of time – or lack thereof – quarterback Russell Wilson has to deliver the throw. The fourth-year man out of the University of Wisconsin might be the most mobile signal-caller in the game, and he has been sacked a league-high 26 times.

The good news? San Francisco has only amassed nine sacks on the year. Linebacker Aaron Lynch is leading the team with three sacks. If the 49ers can get consistent pressure on Wilson, especially without blitzing, they might be able to pull off the upset.

Good Colin, Bad Colin…

San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick must be maddening to those folks in the Bay Area. One week, Kaepernick is able to operate the offense and play efficient football. Then, he plays games like he endured in Week 3 against the Arizona Cardinals, when he tossed four interceptions including a pair of pick-sixes.

Kaepernick’s line in that game? 9-of-19 for 67 yards with zero touchdowns and four interceptions. Yikes.

Seattle has been struggling on the back end, something that has nary been said since Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor came on board. Can the Seahawks get healthy against Kaepernick, or does the former University of Nevada sound off even more alarm bells.

X-Factor

Just how good is Seattle? We keep waiting for the Seahawks to break out because of their track record, but perhaps they are not a good team this year. The defense is struggling, the offensive line is a sieve, and there was plenty of in-fighting on the field last week as the team blew a nine-point fourth-quarter lead at home.

Can Seattle step up and hammer what is supposedly a weaker team? Or do we learn that the Seahawks are not who they once were?

Line

Seattle (-6.5)

Prediction

Seahawks 23, 49ers 17

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