The 2023 NFL playoffs kick off with the Super Wild Card round on Saturday at Levi’s Stadium when the San Francisco 49ers host NFC West rivals Seattle.
San Francisco head into the playoffs on the longest active winning streak – 10 games. In fact, no NFC team heads into the post-season with more than two consecutive victories. Their 13-4 record saw Kyle Shanahan’s team take the number 2 seed.
The Seattle Seahawks had to win their last two games and then rely on the Detroit Lions upsetting the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in the final game of the regular season in order to get here.
Pete Carroll’s team have performed admirably in a division with the reigning Super Bowl champions and after trading quarterback Russell Wilson in the off-season. The three 2022 draft picks received from Denver saw Seattle draft Tackle Charles Cross and Defensive Ends Boye Mafe and Tyreke Smith.
Geno Smith was signed as a free agent and proved to be one of the best comeback players of the season as he threw 30 touchdowns compared to 11 interceptions and was pivotal in guiding Seattle to a surprise post-season appearance.
But how will Seattle matchup to San Francisco in the playoffs?
San Francisco started the season 3-4, but their first win was in week 2 when they beat Seattle 27-7 on home soil. They then completed the double with a 21-13 win in week 15 on December 15 at Lumen Field.
During their 10-game winning streak, the 49ers have put up >30 points in 6 games and allowed <18 points in 7 of those. Only Super Bowl favourites Kansas City have won as a visiting team at Levi’s Stadium this season, that came 44-23 in week 7. Since then the defence has got healthier and performing much better, whilst Christian McCaffrey has been added at Running Back.
The 49ers are also heading into the playoffs with Mr Irrelevant Brock Purdy at Quarterback. The rookie has won all 5 of his starts over the past five weeks, which started with the 35-7 thrashing of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Admittedly, Seattle are the only team with a winning record among these teams.
What is the Seahawks @ 49ers money line?
The San Francisco 49ers have been made the early -9.5 point favourites, which they covered in the first meeting between these two NFC West rivals. The California franchise are as short as 2/11 on the money line.
Seahawks @ 49ers pick
Seattle only won 3 of their last 8 games in the regular season and scored <20 points in three of their last four. One of these was versus San Francisco, whilst their final two games came against already eliminated LA Rams and the New York Jets.
San Francisco will progress from this matchup and I expect them to cover the spread too.
Pick: 49ers -9.5