The NFL season finale of Sunday Night Football (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC) is must-see TV as the San Francisco 49ers (12-3) visit the Seattle Seahawks (11-4) for the NFC West title.
The 49ers, who are also trying to clinch home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs, opened as 1-point road favorites last Sunday. The line has now crossed the key number of 3 and we feel the value has flipped to the Seahawks as 3.5-point home underdogs.
There’s been a lot of talk about the rash of injuries in Seattle, especially in the offensive backfield. However, Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch is back to help the running game, but even though Pete Carroll loves to establish the running game, this is more of a passing team these days with QB Russell Wilson spreading the ball around to his receivers. In addition, the defense welcomes back a beast of its own in pass rusher Jadaveon Clowney, who missed the last two games, in addition to LB Mychal Kendricks and CB Shaquill Griffin.
I also like the fact that the Seahawks won the first meeting in L.A., 27-24 in overtime, as they outrushed and outpassed the 49ers and the defense sacked Jimmy Garopollo five times. I feel the Seahawks match up very well with the 49ers, and now -- even though the Seahawks lost to the Cardinals last week at home – they know get the 49ers in Seattle, which is still a very tough place to go in and win.
Finally, just like last week when I liked the Eagles over the Cowboys because of their (recent) championship pedigree and coaching edge, I trust Carroll and the Seahawks’ experienced players more in crunch time over 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and his team. Besides, if it comes down to FGs at the end like the first meeting, it’s nice to be getting plus 3.5.
THE PLAY: Seahawks plus 3.5.