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Seahawks vs. 49ers ‘Thursday Night Football’ pick and open thread

Finally, a primetime game with playoff implications

Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Thank you, football gods! After a season full of underwhelming Thursday Night Football matchups, we have reached the point in the year where import and watchability skyrocket. This is a game that shouldn’t disappoint. Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers head to Seattle to take on their division rival Seattle Seahawks, led by Comeback Player of the Year favorite, Geno Smith.

The 49ers are coming off of a very impressive win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where the offense appeared to be unstoppable even after the injury to wide receiver Deebo Samuel. The addition of running back Christian McCaffery will prove to be the trade of the year if he’s able to keep the offense as dangerous and effective as they are on their best days. Purdy is playing quarterback with confidence and poise, getting the ball to most of his targets without any problems.

One would think the last pick in the draft would have more difficulty stepping into meaningful games and playing at this level. Maybe he’s better than everyone thought — or maybe Kyle Shanahan is really a genius. The thing that’s most interesting about this to me is, considering what the quarterback room look like in the Bay Area next season. It’s widely believed Trey Lance is the starter upon return, and Jimmy Garropolo says he’s open to a return with the team, but with Purdy playing so well, there might not be a reason for the team to hang on to Jimmy G.

Defensively, I’m not sure if there is another team playing on San Francisco’s level. Week after week, they make it very difficult for opposing teams to move the ball and score on them. Last week, Tom Brady was bothered often, and couldn’t produce anything to keep up with the 49ers.

The Seahawks, meanwhile, are trying to lessen the gap between themselves and the 49ers in the division. A win here would really shake things up in the two-team race in the West, but would also significantly boost Seattle’s chances for a Wild Card spot. As of right now, the Seahawks sit just outside of the playoff field with the eighth-best record in the NFC. The New York Giants and the Washington Commanders play each other this week, so a win would place Seattle over the loser of that game. And after losing to the Carolina Panthers last week, they can’t afford to lose too many more games if they really plan to make the playoffs.

But Seattle was also without their best offensive weapon, rookie running back Kenneth Walker III (ankle), in that contest. This week, he has been a full participant in practice, and is expected to be available for the game tonight. Adding him back into the mix will allow Smith to establish the play-action game and get D.K. Metcalf involved.

This one will come down to defense. Both teams are trying to solidify their place in the conference to make a run in January. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, the 49ers have the best defense in the league, and the right mix of weapons to score points in bunches — even with Mr. Irrelevant being the one throwing the passes. Defense wins championships, and my pick out of the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers, will win and cover the spread.