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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, November 26, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Earlier this calendar year, the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers played for the NFC Championship. Seattle won…barely. San Francisco just missed rallying in the final moments. Then, you all remember that Seattle crushed Denver in the Super Bowl. You can make a compelling case that the Seahawks and Niners were the two best teams in the NFL last season.

This season? One or both could miss the playoffs!

Both currently sport 7-4 records, and trail Arizona at 9-2 at the top of the NFC West. Thursday Night’s loser basically has no shot to rally and win the division (unless Arizona loses the rest of its games). The winner still need some help. If you assume that both San Francisco and Seattle will have to settle for a Wildcard, there’s only two spots! The loser of Philadelphia/Dallas earlier Thanksgiving Day will have a one game lead over the loser of Seattle/San Francisco. Detroit will be at 8-4 if they beat the Bears in the early kickoff. That’s pretty much the full Wildcard race right there. All four serious contenders play Thursday.


NFC Wildcard After Thursday

Detroit probably 8-4

Philadelphia/Dallas loser definitely 8-4

Seattle/San Francisco winner definitely 8-4

Seattle/San Francisco loser definitely 7-5

How the mighty have fallen! The two best teams in the NFC last season…and possibly the whole league…could be sitting at home watching this year’s playoffs on TV with the rest of us.

Thanksgiving football has never been this intense or had so much at stake. Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats tell us about this extremely important prime time showdown…and the potential for strong finishes from both the Seahawks and Niners…


Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)

Seattle: 7-4 (#15 schedule in USA Today)

San Francisco: 7-4 (#11 schedule in USA Today)

You already knew the records. Both teams have played comparable schedules…but not schedules that would lead to misleading records. It’s not like they’ve played killer schedules (like last year) and are really 9-2 teams in disguise. They really have been pretty generic this season.



Seattle: 5.8 on offense, 5.1 on defense

San Francisco: 5.2 on offense, 5.1 on defense

Seattle at least still owns the point of attack. And, if you’ve been reading our previews in recent weeks, you know that Seattle still has the YPP differential of a champion. Many of the best teams in 2014 are barely over break-even in this stat…winning games instead because of turnover differential, soft schedules, or knowing how to finish their drives effectively. Seattle is still a league power in this important stat combination. San Francisco still has a fantastic defense. But, the offense has been a huge disappointment.


Turnover Differential

Seattle: +6

San Francisco: +8

Both teams have been the masters of risk/reward under their current head coaching regimes. This year has been a bit more tame than in the past. But, both are still on the right side of zero. Frankly, Seattle should be better than 7-4 in the standings given the numbers we’ve seen so far. San Francisco has turned .500 caliber into 7-4 with their turnover differential.


Market Performance

Seattle: 5-6

San Francisco: 6-5

It’s tough to earn money as public teams who are supposed to contend for championships. The two have combined for exactly an 11-11 mark against the spread.


Current Line: San Francisco by 1, total of 40

The market looks to be agreeing with the lessons or our indicator stats. Seattle is the better team, and is getting a justified level of respect. Home field advantage is typically worth 2.5 to 3 points in divisional rivalry games like this. San Francisco is laying less than that, which means the market thinks the Seahawks are stronger. The total of 40 may drop by kickoff. There are already some locations offering 39.5 as we go to press.

Is this the game that unofficially “ends” Jim Harbaugh’s tenure with San Francisco? There are rumors he’s on the way out anyway? Or, is this the game that brings Seattle’s Super Bowl letdown to its nadir, virtually knocking them out of any real chance of making it back to the big game?

JIM HURLEY has some very strong thoughts about this matchup. And, he’s glad the game is in the anchor position to finish off a huge day of football. You can purchase the full Thanksgiving football slate right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about the annual TURKEY SHOOT or about extended service in football or basketball, call us in the office late Wednesday afternoon or early Thanksgiving morning at 1-888-777-4155.

The NOTEBOOK will switch to college football the next two days. So much on the line this weekend! Here’s what’s still ahead…

Friday: College TV Preview…Arizona State at Arizona

Saturday: College TV Preview…Auburn at Alabama

Sunday: NFL TV Preview…Denver at Kansas City on NBC

Monday: NFL TV Preview…Miami at NY Jets on ESPN

If you missed Tuesday’s preview of Chicago/Detroit, or Wednesday’s early look at Philadelphia/Dallas, please check the archives. JIM HURLEY and his NETWORK team have never been this excited about a TURKEY SHOOT…and they’re ALWAYS excited about the TURKEY SHOOT! Leave room on your holiday table for BIG, JUICY WINNERS from JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!


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Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley

Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

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