PFF Preview: 49ers @ Seahawks, Week 15
After a tough loss at home against the Seattle Seahawks two weeks ago, the San Francisco 49ers rebounded with another poor effort, losing to the then one-win Oakland Raiders last week. They’ll look to keep their playoff hopes alive with a revenge win against the Seahawks this week as they travel to CenturyLink Field.
The Seahawks are winning games the way they did last year, mostly behind strong secondary play. Cornerback Richard Sherman shuts down his side of the field, his 19.2 Cover Snaps Per Reception the highest among corners. Now safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas are getting back on track after a slower start to the season. Chancellor’s +7.3 grade over the past three games is the highest among safeties, and Thomas’ +3.6 is the fifth-best. This is how the Seahawks became champions last season, and it should scare the rest of the league to see them getting back to that so close to the playoffs.
The 49ers have had a tough time moving the ball through the air in general this season, let alone against a secondary as good as the Seahawks’. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick has seemingly regressed this season, his -9.9 passing grade is 29th among quarterbacks. Tight end Vernon Davis has not had a game with a positive grade this entire season, and his -17.5 overall grade places him 61st among tight ends. Their No. 1 receiver Michael Crabtree is the 98th-best receiver in terms of passing grade, with a -7.4. Without these key offensive players getting back on track, the 49ers will be hard-pressed to avenge their loss to Seattle two weeks ago in this game.
Here are three other players from each team to watch out for in this game:
San Francisco 49ers
Joe Staley – Staley has been equally effective run blocking (+8.1 grade) and pass blocking (+7.6 grade), giving him a seventh-best tackle grade of +15.6.
Justin Smith – Smith has been a stout run defender this season, as his +15.2 run defense grade is the fourth-highest among 3-4 defensive ends.
Chris Borland – Borland has the second-highest overall grade among inside linebackers this season at +19.5.
Marshawn Lynch – His league-leading 79 missed tackles forced have contributed greatly to Lynch’s league best 80.2 Elusive Rating.
Michael Bennett – His 58 total quarterback pressures this season give him an 11.7 Pass Rushing Productivity, the fifth-highest among 4-3 defensive ends.
Bobby Wagner – One of only five inside linebackers to have a green grade (above +1.0) in pass rush, run defense and pass coverage.
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