The San Francisco 49ers have secured themselves a place in the NFL Playoffs, but need to keep playing hard over the next two weeks to try and secure the No. 2 seed in the NFC. For more on the 49ers, check out Niners Nation, SB Nation's San Francisco 49ers blog.
The San Francisco 49ers are riding high after besting the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football. They're sitting with an 11-3 record, their best record in a long time. They've already clinched the NFC West and currently hold the No. 2 seed in the NFC, though the New Orleans Saints are hot on their tails, trailing only due to a tiebreaker with their own 11-3 record. This means that the 49ers will need to keep their foot on the gas in Week 16 and 17 to hold off the Saints.
Heck, if the Green Bay Packers lose out and the 49ers are successful in their next two outings, San Francisco would hold the tiebreak against them as well.
Saturday, the 49ers will hit the road to take on the Seattle Seahawks, who are fighting for their playoff lives. It's all about the playoffs, and its good to see a matchup between these NFC West rivals actually holds some playoff significance, even if they're not fighting for the division. For Seattle to make it, they'd need to best the 49ers on Saturday and then wrap it all up with a win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17, while needing the Detroit Lions to lose both its games, to the San Diego Chargers and Packers, respectively.
Now that all of that is on the table, it's time to look at the teams and where they stand right now. The game should actually be rather simple when it all comes down to it: Seattle is enjoying a career resurgence from running back Marshawn Lynch, who is easily one of the league's best backs over the second half of the season. As a counter to that, the 49ers are boasting what is just about an NFL all-time best run defense.
If San Francisco avoids allowing a rushing touchdown in its next two games, it will be a full 16-game season without allowing one, and something that has never been done before. The lowest amount of rushing touchdowns ever allowed by a team in a 16-game season is four, so it would really be a huge standard to set. And though the 49ers have faced some tough running backs, including Lynch in Week 1, when he was held to just 33 yards, the current iteration of the Seahawks running back might be the best yet.
Seattle is seeing some other playmakers on offense come out of the woodwork and play well, but at its very core, the team has depended on Lynch to keep the offense going. The 49ers showed a bending defense against the Steelers that didn't break once, and without the benefit of a rushing attack, it will be hard for Tarvaris Jackson to lead the Seahawks to scoring opportunities.
The 49ers offense shook off some of its redzone woes on Monday against the Steelers, scoring twice inside the twenty, including a five-yard run by Frank Gore and a play action pass to tight end Vernon Davis. Needless to say, they'll keep their feet on the gas and try and sweep the Seahawks on their way to the playoffs.