3 Keys to the Seahawks Knocking Off the 49ers in the NFC West
Despite owning a 10-3 record, which is tied for the second-best mark in the NFC, the Seattle Seahawks are currently sitting in second place in their division. Seattle is almost a lock to make the postseason, but with a potential first-round bye and home-field advantage on the line, winning the NFC West is crucial if the Seahawks hope to be hoisting the Lombardi come February.
With that in mind, here are three keys to Seattle winning the NFC West this year.
1. Win Out
Let's start with the simple stuff. Seattle is currently a game behind the San Francisco 49ers. As long as the Seahawks remain within one game of the 49ers, Seattle's Week 17 clash with San Francisco will decide the division. The schedule doesn't appear too daunting, as the Seahawks take on the Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals over the next two weeks. As long as Seattle handles its business against Carolina and Arizona, the Seahawks control their own destiny in the division.
2. Russell Wilson Returns to MVP Form
Over the first nine games of the season, Russell Wilson was playing like a legitimate league MVP. He tossed 22 touchdowns to one interception, and was averaging 278.3 passing yards per game during that span. In the four subsequent games, however, he's thrown four TDs to four INTs and is averaging 229.3 yards per contest. That's a significant drop in production, and a lot of it has to do with the offense seemingly being less willing to push the ball downfield. Wilson's adjusted yards per pass attempt (AY/A) was 9.90 over the first nine games. For context, that would be the second-best mark in the league this season, and is better than the 9.60 AY/A Patrick Mahomes posted in his record-breaking 2018 campaign. Wilson's AY/A has fallen to 6.48 over his last four games, and he's going to have to return to that early-season form to take out SF.
3. Improve Pass-Rushing Unit
The Seahawks are 7-1 this season when sacking their opponent at least once, surrendering 21.6 points per game (PPG) in such contests. When they fail to record a sack, however, the Seahawks are 3-2, surrendering 29.6 PPG. Clearly, this defense goes as its pass-rushing unit does. The Seahawks were able to upset the 49ers in Week 10 in part because Seattle recorded five sacks. Getting Jadeveon Clowney to be a more consistent disruptor, and ensuring that Ezekiel Ansah can get healthy, will be crucial for Seattle's chances of dethroning San Francisco in Week 17.
Join FanDuel Sportsbook Today. New users get a risk-free bet up to $500. Join Now.
Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.