It has been yet another exciting week of football around the league, with several huge games that have further impacted the playoff picture in both conferences. Week 10 action is set to conclude with an entertaining matchup between NFC West division rival Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers on Monday night. Here are a few things to keep an eye on in the contest.
3. 49ers’ running game
Throughout the 49ers’ strong amount of success throughout the first half of the season, it has seen them put forth a strong rushing attack. It has been the focal point of the offensive game plan under head coach Kyle Shanahan as they rank second in the league with 171.1 yards per contest.
Their collective running game with Tevin Coleman and Matt Brieda has given them the necessary balance offensively. In his first campaign with the franchise, Coleman has tallied 355 rushing yards with five touchdowns. It includes him putting up a stellar outing against the Carolina Panthers, where he had 105 rushing yards with three touchdowns along with two receptions for 13 receiving yards and a touchdown.
The Seahawks have had their struggles defensively this season that has them tied for second-worst with 12 rushing touchdowns allowed while giving up 4.7 yards per carry. That should lead to the point of emphasis from the 49ers to pound the rock against their divisional rivals on Monday night.
2. Russell Wilson’s effectiveness
Much of the Seahawks’ success in the 2019 season can be tied to the stellar play from their star quarterback putting up arguably his best season.
Seattle has finally gone full steam ahead with Wilson leading the way with his arm as he has 2,505 passing yards with 22 touchdown passes to one interception with a 118.2 passer rating. His play has put him into the thick of the MVP conversation, while his team well in play for both the NFC West and playoff contention.
Wilson has his stiffest challenge ahead on Monday night against the 49ers defense that has been arguably the best unit in the league. That puts a greater emphasis on him to set the tone with his play on the road. That will need him to make plays with either his arm or legs to keep San Francisco off balance while easing the pressure off their defense.
Wilson’s performance will be highly indicative of how the game unfolds. It should be noted that he has had much success against the 49ers in his career, holding an 11-3 record in 14 games while throwing 23 touchdown passes to eight interceptions with a 99.2 passer rating.
1. 49ers’ defensive impact
The 49ers have raced out to the best mark in the NFL through the first eight games, which has been largely stamped by the play of their stout defense.
Their collection of young and promising talent that now includes stellar rookie defensive end Nick Bosa, has been a game-changing factor for them all season. San Francisco currently ranks first overall along with being first in passing, eighth against the run, and second allowing just 12.8 points per contest.
The 49ers defense has allowed more than 20 points just twice this season, with no opponent scoring more than 25 points against them that came in the Thursday night matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. Monday’s game will mark their first game against the Seahawks, which should present a unique challenge of facing Wilson, who is one of the league’s best quarterbacks.
The game plan will likely hone in on limiting Wilson’s impact with his legs as that is what may give him the x-factor in the contest. The matchup between those aspects will be the determining component to this pivotal NFC West divisional showdown.