Week 3 Tale Of The Tape: San Francisco 49ers At Seattle Seahawks

SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Carlos Hyde #28 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after scoring in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams during their NFL game at Levi\'s Stadium on September 12, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Christine Michael #32 of the Seattle Seahawks takes a handoff from Russell Wilson #3 during the second quarter of the home opening NFL game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Coliseum on September 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
  • Quarterback
    The schedule maker has not done the 49ers any favor in the early season. They had to go on the road to play the rested Carolina Panthers in Week Two, and now they must go to Seattle with the Seahawks coming off a loss. Blaine Gabbert has shown some improvement this year as he threw for 243 yards vs. the Panthers with two TDs against a very good defense.
    The Seahawks were unable to get their offense going against the Rams in Week Two, and some of that may be the result of a Russell Wilson’s ankle injury. While he stayed in the lineup throughout the game, he was not at his best. Wilson should have an opportunity to recover this week, and if that happens, he will have an opportunity to take advantage of the 49ers defense.
  • Offense
    The 49ers would like to support Gabbert with a productive running game, and Carlos Hyde has the quickness to cause some problems. However, the Seahawks are strong gang tacklers and it will take a concerted effort from the offensive line to get this done. Wideout Torrey Smith knows how to get open and will fight for the ball.
    The Seahawks were confident that Christine Michael and Thomas Rawls would replace Marshawn Lynch, but that has not happened through the first two games. Doug Baldwin (knee) has the toughness, route-running ability and the hands to make big plays and keep drives alive on third-down plays. Tyler Lockett (knee) has explosive speed and can be a game breaker.
  • Defense
    After throwing a shutout in Week One against the Rams, the San Francisco defense struggled badly against the Panthers in giving up 46 points. Inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman is one of the best tacklers in the league and he has caused problems for the Seahawks in the past. Strong safety Antoine Bethea had nine tackles, an interception and a forced fumble vs. Carolina.
    The Seahawks have a chance to have a dominant season on defense once again this year. Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril are capable of dominating as pass rushers. Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is one of the top tacklers in the league and he plays with speed and a nasty edge. Richard Sherman is a physical corner who can make huge plays.
  • Special Teams
    The 49ers are quite ordinary on special teams, but they should have a chance to make some improvements in that area because they are playing with more enthusiasm this year. Bradley Pinion averaged 45.0 yards on his seven punts against Carolina.
    The Seahawks are regularly near the top of the league when it comes to overall special teams play, and that should remain a strength this year. Steven Hauschka is a very good placekicker and Jon Ryan has excellent leg strength and is a fine punter.
The Seahawks lost to the Rams after the 49ers had pummeled them in their opener. That means the 49ers will have Seattle’s full attention. Look for Seattle to come through with a huge effort and a convincing win at home.