49ers will try to achieve something vs. Seahawks its never done before

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The Seattle Seahawks will face the San Francisco 49ers in the first game of the NFL’s Wild Card weekend on Saturday. A couple of rookies will be players to watch in this matchup of division rivals. And the 49ers will be trying to accomplish something it has never achieved in franchise history — beating an opponent three times in one season.

SEATTLE (9-8) at SAN FRANCISCO (13-4)

Saturday, 4:30 p.m. EST, Fox

  • FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK NFL LINE: 49ers by 10
  • AGAINST THE SPREAD: Seahawks 7-10; 49ers 11-6
  • SERIES RECORD: Seahawks lead 30-19
  • LAST MEETING: 49ers beat Seahawks 21-13 on Dec. 15, 2022, at Seattle
  • LAST WEEK: Seahawks beat Rams 19-16 in OT; 49ers beat Cardinals 38-13.
  • SEAHAWKS OFFENSE: OVERALL (13), RUSH (18), PASS (11), SCORING (9)
  • SEAHAWKS DEFENSE: OVERALL (26), RUSH (30), PASS (13), SCORING (25)
  • 49ERS OFFENSE: OVERALL (5), RUSH (8), PASS (13), SCORING (6)
  • 49ERS DEFENSE: OVERALL (1), RUSH (2), PASS (20), SCORING (1)
  • TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Seahawks plus-2; 49ers plus-13.

SEAHAWKS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB Kenneth Walker III. If Seattle’s going to have offensive success and be able to sustain drives, keep the 49ers offense on the sideline and take some stress off quarterback Geno Smith, then Walker needs to have a big game. He closed the regular season with a flourish, rushing for more than 100 yards in each of the final three games. Walker had a season-high 29 carries in the win over the Rams last week. Walker had just four carries when the teams met in Week 2 and was still nursing an ankle injury when he rushed 12 times for 47 yards in Week 15.

49ERS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Brock Purdy will be the lowest draft pick to start a playoff game at QB as a rookie after being drafted with the 262nd and final pick in April. Purdy finished the season as the second rookie with at least six straight games with multiple TD passes and the third rookie QB to win first his five starts. Purdy’s 119 passer rating in his first five starts is the second best for any QB in the Super Bowl era in his first five starts, trailing only Hall of Famer Kurt Warner (131.4).

KEY MATCHUP: San Francisco DE Nick Bosa against Seattle rookie offensive tackles Charles Cross and Abe Lucas. Bosa led the NFL with 18 1/2 sacks in the regular season and was one of the league’s most dominant defenders. Bosa had three sacks and 13 pressures in the two regular-season meetings.

KEY INJURIES: Seahawks S Ryan Neal (knee) and G Phil Haynes (ankle) both will be game-time decisions. Neal has missed the past three games. … Seattle is also uncertain about RB DeeJay Dallas, who suffered a quad injury last week to go along with an already gimpy ankle. … The Niners are hoping to get G Aaron Banks (ankle, knee), LB Dre Greenlaw (back) and DL Kevin Givens (knee) back from injuries this week.

SERIES NOTES: The Niners swept the season series for the first time since 2011. … Seattle had won 15 of the previous 17 matchups before this season. … San Francisco has never beaten an opponent three times in one season. … The Seahawks won the only previous playoff matchup in NFC title game in 2013 season with 23-17 victory.

STATS AND STUFF: The Seahawks are in the playoffs for the 10th time in Pete Carroll’s 13 seasons in charge, and the 15th time in the past 20 seasons overall. Seattle has never missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons since Carroll took over in 2010. … Carroll is the ninth coach in NFL history to make the playoffs in 12 different seasons, including two trips with New England. … Seattle has 14 players on its 53-man roster from the previous time it reached the postseason in 2020. … Seattle’s 74 games of playoff experience on its roster are the second fewest in the NFC ahead of only the Giants. … Smith led the NFL in completion rate (69.8%) and set franchise records for yards (4,282), completions (399) and attempts (572). Smith was the only QB in the league to play every snap. … Walker was second rookie in franchise history to rush for more than 1,000 yards joining Curt Warner. … Seahawks had two 1,000-yard receivers (Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf) and a 1,000-yard rusher (Walker) for the second time in franchise history. Seattle also accomplished that in 1995 with RB Chris Warren and WRs Joey Galloway and Brian Blades. … OLBs Darrell Taylor and Uchenna Nwosu both had 9½ sacks to lead Seattle. Taylor has 6½ sacks in the past six games. … S Quandre Diggs had interceptions in the final two games of the regular season. He’s only player in the league with at least three picks in each of the past six seasons. … K Jason Myers led the NFL with 143 points scored and tied the franchise record with 34 made field goals. … San Francisco is in the playoffs for the third time in four seasons, going to the Super Bowl in the 2019 season and the NFC title game last season. … The Niners ended the season on a 10-game winning streak. … San Francisco went 8-1 at home for its best home record since going 8-0 in 1998. … San Francisco led the NFL with a plus-173 point differential. … The 49ers have had a positive turnover margin in eight straight games for the longest active streak in the NFL and the longest streak in franchise history. … San Francisco held teams to 70 yards rushing or fewer 11 times this season, matching the 2010 Steelers and 2000 Ravens for the most games since at least 1940. … The Niners are the sixth team since the merger to lead the league in turnover margin, points allowed and yards allowed. Three of the previous five won the Super Bowl. … San Francisco has scored at least 37 points in three straight games for the sixth time in franchise history and first since 1995. … Niners TE George Kittle had seven of his career-high 11 TD catches over the past four games. … San Francisco RB Christian McCaffrey scored at least one TD in six straight games. … The Niners rank third in the NFL with 75 plays of at least 20 yards from scrimmage.

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