NFL playoffs 2015: San Francisco 49ers hope to play spoiler

The San Francisco 49ers are not making the playoffs this year.

Sitting at 3-6, they are not mathematically disqualified, but any hope they have of making a late-season run should be dashed based on the eye test alone. Colin Kaepernick has been benched in favor of former Jaguars first-rounder Blaine Gabbert and as predicted by many during preseason, all of the offseason losses have taken their toll on the team as a whole.

Despite all of these unfortunate truths, San Francisco can still have a big impact on the playoffs. To do so, they must shift their focus to playing the role of the villain, and it starts this week when they head to Century Link field to take on the Seattle Seahawks.

Coming off of a crushing defeat against the Arizona Cardinals in which the vaunted Legion of Boom allowed Larry Fitzgerald and Co. to go for a total of 17 catches, 243 yards, and two touchdowns, Seattle now sits at 4-5 and is on the brink of missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2011 season.

In other words, Sunday’s game is crucial to Seattle if they want to make the playoffs and return to the Super Bowl for the third straight year. The 49ers would love nothing more than to spoil Seattle’s chances, but to do that, they must learn from their Week 7 defeat.

In that October 22nd loss, San Francisco allowed Marshawn Lynch to do his thing and run for 122 yards and one touchdown on 27 carries. While we all know that you really can’t stop Lynch, you can limit him and that’s what the 49ers must do.

Another area that they must improve upon is their third down conversions.

The last time these two teams met up, San Francisco was 1 for 11 on third down, that is terrible. Unfortunately for them, this game is being played in Seattle in front of a crowd that will be making as much noise as possible as they cheer their team onto victory. Couple that with the fact that the 49ers will be starting a QB who doesn’t have experience with the type of sound levels Seattle is known for, it doesn’t look to be a good mix.

If the 49ers can get Carlos Hyde (who has been outstanding at times) going and keep the game close in the fourth quarter, then they might have a chance to get out of Seattle with a victory, but if they play the way they did in Week 7, look for them to fall to 3-7 and finally put the kibosh on this lost season.   

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Sean Mitchell

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