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After an impressive win over the red-hot Carolina Panthers, the Seattle Seahawks roll into week 13 to face their former division rival the 49ers.

This is a tricky game for the Seahawks, a game which they are expected to win. Those games always pose a challenge. If they don’t execute properly, they could come unstuck. The Seahawks are in the box seat for a wildcard berth but will need to be on their game to beat the 49ers in this one.

Clark and McDougald vs. Kittle, Mullens, and Breida

Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark and strong safety Bradley McDougald have been incredible on the defensive side of the ball for the Seahawks this season. Between them, they have four interceptions, more than 80 tackles, and 10 sacks. They will need to be at their best if they are to get the better of one of the best duos quarterback-to-tight end in the league this season in George Kittle and Nick Mullens.

Mullens, the 49ers third-string field general, has been formidable for a team that has struggled with multiple injuries to key personnel. He doesn’t deal well with pressure in the backfield. If Clark can bring the heat, the Seahawks will go along way to restricting him.

The 49ers are ranked third in the NFL for the run game. Clark will need to pressure Mullens as well as stop running back Matt Breida.

The 49ers rank fifth in rushing yards in 2018. This can be contributed to them having to turn to their third QB this season. It is also due to the fact they have MBreida, who has 127 rushes for 738 yards at an average of 5.81 per carry.

Through the first 11 games of 2018, Kittle has 56 catches for 823 yards with three touchdowns. The former fifth-round pick from Iowa has had a breakout second season in San Francisco.

The fast and athletic Kittle has twice as many catches as the next 49ers receiver. His 554 yards after contact rank him second in the league. McDougald must be at his best to ensure Kittle doesn’t get away from him.

Lockett and Baldwin vs. Sherman

Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin have combined for over 1,000 yards receiving and nine touchdowns through 11 games in 2018. They have a third of the Seahawks touchdowns between them and don’t look like slowing down.

This week they face one of their toughest challenges of the season when they face off against one of the best cornerbacks in the league in Richard Sherman. Sherman has terrorized wide receivers since he entered the league as a Seahawk in 2011. This will be the first time he faces his old team and you know he will be up for the challenge.

Sherman is one of the best cover cornerbacks in the game. He gives very little away and he makes opponents work for every play against him. This will be a tough ask for either of these players, depending on which side Sherman favors on Sunday.

If the Seahawks can get on a roll early and shut Sherman out of the game, they will win this easily. If it gets into a dogfight for four quarters this could go either way.

Final prediction: Seahawks win 35-17

Sports Al Dente 2018