When the San Francisco 49ers traded for Jimmy Garoppolo from the New England Patriots in October, 2017, the club hoped they had finally acquired a franchise quarterback who could turn the five-time Super Bowl winners into a perennial contender again. The 49ers have not appeared in the playoffs since 2013.
Halfway through the 2019 season, the organization’s hopes appear to be justified. The Niners remain the only undefeated team in the NFL at 8-0.
On Monday Night Football this week, Garoppolo — who has won 16 of his 18 career starts, including two wins with New England — faces his toughest test since coming to the 49ers. The 7-2 Seattle Seahawks come into Levi’s Stadium having won five of their last six games, with a leading MVP candidate in their own quarterback, Russell Wilson. Fansided predicts it will be “the best game of the season so far.”
The oddsmakers are not quite as enthusiastic about the matchup, however. The 49ers are installed as 6.5 point favorites at home, according to Sports Illustrated.
The Sports Illustrated experts, however, ask “where Seattle would be without Wilson,” noting that the five-time Pro Bowl selection has already thrown for an NFL-leading 22 touchdowns in the team’s nine games, and rushed for three more. At the same time, Wilson has tossed just a single interception in his 293 pass attempts.
By comparison, Garoppolo has thrown seven interceptions in 226 attempts, hitting 13 touchdown passes. The 28-year-old has also rushed for a touchdown. His overall passer rating is a respectable, if unspectacular 100.6. But Wilson sits atop all NFL signal-callers with a 118.2 rating.
Watch a preview of the momentous Monday Night Football matchup in the video below, courtesy of ESPN.
If Garoppolo and the 49ers can extend their undefeated season to nine games, they will also take a major step toward securing home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The New Orleans Saints were the only NFC team with no more than one loss heading into Week 10, and they simply failed to show up against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
The Saints were steamrolled by the Falcons, 26-9, giving San Francisco an opportunity to open a two-game lead atop the NFC playoff seeding standings. The Falcons had won only one game all season before Sunday, according to USA Today Niners Wire.
Even though the Monday Night Football game pits Seattle’s fourth-ranked offense against the 49ers sixth-ranked squad, Fansided writer Kevin Parvizi expects the game to come down to a clash between Wilson and the Niners defense.
San Francisco boasts the stingiest defense in the NFC, allowing only 102 points through eight games. That’s just four more than the NFL-leading Patriots defense has allowed, albeit through nine games.