The 49ers look lost, and they’re presumed dead.
They’ve lost two games in a row and now have to face the Seahawks in Seattle, a place where they’ve been pummeled in recent meetings.
San Francisco hasn’t lost three games in a row since Jim Harbaugh became head coach in 2011, but right now a victory Sunday afternoon at CenturyLink Field would seem miraculous.
The Niners are 10-point underdogs, struggling to find an offensive rhythm and trying to overcome key injuries on defense and will have to beat a team that dominated them in a Thanksgiving night game at Levi’s Stadium.
Yet this week, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he expects the 49ers to play very aggressively on Sunday. He would expect nothing less from a Harbaugh-coached team.
“That’s why they’re so dangerous coming in right now, because of his leadership and toughness about the way he runs his program,” Carroll told reporters this week.
The 49ers have lost three straight in Seattle, and desperately need to break that streak to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. At 7-6, the Niners need to beat Seattle, San Diego and Arizona to get to 10-6, and then hope they get plenty of help in order to earn a wild-card berth.
But it all starts with the matchup Sunday vs. the Seahawks, a team with a defense that has given quarterback Colin Kaepernick fits, especially in Seattle. Kaepernick has had his worst games as a pro against the Seahawks and will need to have a breakout game Sunday in a hostile environment – a seemingly improbable outcome right now.
Kaepernick is 1-4 vs. Seattle in his career with just three TD passes vs. nine interceptions.
He has a 23-8 record against the rest of the league.
Yet this week Kaepernick sounded upbeat about Sunday’s game, and says he feels more comfortable about playing in CenturyLink. He and the 49ers have studied film from their most recent two losses to Seattle – including January’s NFC Championship Game defeat -- and know what needs to be done.
“That game and the game we played Thanksgiving are two games we look at and we try and take everything we can from those and see if we can attack them a different way to go out and try and get this win,” Kaepernick said. “It is a different atmosphere (in Seattle), but I feel like it’s like anything you do: the more you do it, the more you’re there, the more comfortable you get with it. So when we get up there, this offense should be fully prepared for what to expect.”
What everyone realistically expects right now is for the Seahawks – who’ve been on a roll -- to dominate. Until Kaepernick and Co. can show otherwise, this Sunday’s game at CenturyLink seems like it could be another disappointment for the 49ers and their fans.