Thu Nov 7 7:48pm ET
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) throws against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) scrambles away from Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) during overtime of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Richie James, left, runs as Arizona Cardinals linebacker Dennis Gardeck (42) defends during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Trash talking between Richard Sherman and Michael Crabtree. Barbs traded between coaches Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh. Incredible plays from Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick.
The once-fierce rivalry between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco had a bit of everything during a heated stretch early this decade capped by Seattle's epic win in the NFC title game in January 2014.
Now for the first time in years, this game between NFC West rivals means a lot again heading into Monday night's showdown between the Seahawks (7-2) and 49ers (8-0).
''We haven't held up our end of the bargain the last few years, but this is an exciting game,'' said 49ers left tackle Joe Staley, one of the only remaining players in San Francisco from the heyday of this rivalry. ''There's a lot riding on this game. It's meaningful. But, at the same token, we can't look at it as anything different. One of the reasons why we've been successful is we haven't changed. We've been doing exactly what we've been doing all year from training camp to now, just continuing to do the same things.''
This is the first time since Thanksgiving night in 2014 where both teams have a winning record. Seattle won that game 19-3, prompting a Twitter apology to 49ers fans from CEO Jed York and a turkey celebration dinner for Wilson and Sherman at midfield of San Francisco's home.
Harbaugh was forced out following the season and the 49ers won just 17 games in the next four seasons, taking most of the steam out of the rivalry.
But now with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo set to make his first start against Seattle after missing both meetings last year with a season-ending knee injury in Week 3 and a much-improved defense in San Francisco, the 49ers have more than enough to match up with Wilson and the Seahawks in coach Kyle Shanahan's third season.
''They've come a long way in a short time, and Kyle's done a really nice job to turn the corner to get to this point,'' Carroll said. ''Just judging off the last couple of years, they've always shown really good signs. This is a high-tech team, they're on their stuff; their schemes, their principles are really good. They've always been that, they just had trouble getting it all together and getting their wins but, they're together now. They really are sharp in all aspects of their team.''
Seattle's pass defense used to be among the elite of the NFL. Now it ranks near the bottom of the league.
The Seahawks are giving up 278 yards per game through the air, ranking 28th in the league, and have been really bad in the past two games. Seattle gave up 460 yards passing to Matt Schaub and Atlanta two weeks ago, although the yards could be reasoned because the Seahawks built a 24-0 lead and the Falcons were forced to throw in trying to catch up.
Last week against Tampa Bay may have been more concerning. Jameis Winston was barely pressured by Seattle's meager pass rush and a quarterback with a knack for careless throws made none, throwing for 335 yards and two touchdowns.
Surprisingly, Seattle is 4-0 this year when allowing more than 300 yards passing, but those four wins are by a combined 15 points.
The 49ers suffered a big loss last week when linebacker Kwon Alexander went down with a season-ending torn left pectoral muscle. Alexander had 34 tackles, one forced fumble, one interception and four pass breakups and was considered the heart and soul of the defense. Rookie Dre Greenlaw will replace him.
''Since Day 1, the defense has been what it is because of him,'' starting middle linebacker Fred Warner said. ''He was playing at a Pro Bowl level, but the things people didn't notice is what really made him stand apart.''
Seattle proved last week it can establish the run game against the best run defense in the NFL. Seattle rushed for 145 yards against Tampa Bay, led by 105 yards from Chris Carson, the first rusher to top 100 yards this year against the Bucs. When Carson is churning out yards, it creates more opportunity for Wilson to work off play-action. San Francisco is first in the NFL at stopping the pass but just 14th against the run. Getting Carson and backup Rashaad Penny going on the ground will be crucial for the Seahawks to stay away from troubling down and distance situations.
The Niners should be getting several key pieces back this week, with left tackle Joe Staley expected to return from a broken leg that sidelined him in Week 2. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk could return from a knee injury and right tackle Mike McGlinchey (knee) also might be back.
Seattle has said all the right things about supporting struggling kicker Jason Myers, but the Seahawks would prefer not to see Monday night come down to a crucial kick. Myers missed a pair of field goals and an extra point last week against Tampa Bay. He was wide left from 47 yards, wide right on the last play of regulation from 40 yards and hit the upright with one of his PATs. Myers is just 3 of 8 from 40 or more yards this season. Seattle signed Myers in the offseason to solidify its field-goal kicking, but there's much more inconsistency than expected from a Pro Bowl selection last season.
The Niners also have questions in their kicking game after Robbie Gould injured his quadriceps in practice Tuesday. The team signed Chase McLaughlin in case Gould can't play.
The San Francisco 49ers placed wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (foot, knee) on injured reserve on Tuesday. The seven-year pro has been dealing with chronic leg issues and will be shut down to undergo treatment. Goodwin managed just 12 catches for 186 yards and a touchdown in 2019 and its probable his three-year tenure with the Niners is over. The speedster will likely find his way onto another roster next year but at 29 years old, Goodwin holds minimal dynasty value. With Goodwin shelved, wideout Kendrick Bourne will continue operating as the primary third receiver. With five scores over his past six games, Bourne has emerged as a red zone threat and will be a low-volume WR5 in Week 15 against the Atlanta Falcons.
San Francisco 49ers WR Marquise Goodwin (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list with a knee injury on Tuesday, Dec. 10.
New York Jets S Jamal Adams (ankle), OT Chuma Edoga (knee), TE Ryan Griffin (ankle), CB Arthur Maulet (calf), CB Brian Poole (concussion), RB Bilal Powell (ankle, illness), WR Demaryius Thomas (hamstring, knee) and DL Quinnen Williams (neck) did not practice Tuesday, Dec. 10. OT Kelvin Beachum (ankles), S Matthias Farley (ankle), DL Steve McLendon (knee, hip), RB Ty Montgomery (foot, hip) and DL Nathan Shepherd (ankle) were limited. RB Le'Veon Bell (illness), CB Maurice Canady (shoulder), OL Tom Compton (ankle), QB Sam Darnold (knee, thumb), QB David Fales (elbow) and LB Paul Worrilow (quad) participated in full.
Baltimore Ravens LB Chris Board (concussion), DB Anthony Levine (ankle), OT Ronnie Stanley (concussion), RB Mark Ingram (non-injury), S Earl Thomas (non-injury) and DT Brandon Williams (non-injury) did not practice Tuesday, Dec. 10. TE Mark Andrews (knee), QB Lamar Jackson (quad) and DE Jihad Ward (elbow) were limited.
Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley (abdominal) and CB Desmond Trufant (forearm) were placed on the Reserve/Injured list on Tuesday, Dec. 10. LB Ahmad Thomas was signed to the active roster, while TE Carson Meier and LB Quentin Poling were added to the practice squad.
Philadelphia Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery (foot) is out for the rest of the season with a foot injury he suffered in Week 14 against the New York Giants, according to a source. The team is still reportedly gathering opinions about the exact injury, however.
Fantasy Spin: This injury wraps up yet another injury-shortened season for the 29-year-old, who has played a full season once in the last five years - averaging only 12 games over that span. Jeffrey is still due $12.75 million over each of the final two years of his deal, so he's probably not going anywhere this offseason. With Nelson Agholor also ailing, the Eagles could be forced to finish the season with Greg Ward, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and a few practice squad players at the position.
Arizona Cardinals DL Rodney Gunter (toe) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list with a toe injury on Tuesday, Dec. 10. DL Caraun Reid (Cardinals) was re-signed to an undisclosed contract to replace him on the roster after getting released over the weekend.
Washington Redskins CB Simeon Thomas was handed a four-game suspension by the NFL on Tuesday, Dec. 10, for violating the league's policy and program on substances of abuse.
Detroit Lions WR Marvin Jones (ankle) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list with an ankle injury on Tuesday, Dec. 10.
Fantasy Spin: The hits just keep coming for Detroit, which figures to lean on Kenny Golladay even more the rest of the way. Danny Amendola should also see more targets as well.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Auden Tate (knee) was placed on the injured reserve Tuesday, ending his season. Tate sustained a mild MCL sprain in his left knee in the third quarter of the teams Week 14 loss to the Cleveland Browns. Damion Willis was promoted to the active roster in a corresponding roster move. Tate took advantage of all the injuries to the Bengals receiving corps this season, racking up a career-high 40 catches for 575 yards and one touchdown, and is a worthy hold in dynasty leagues heading into his third season.
Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp played only 20 of a possible 68 snaps in Week 14 versus the Seattle Seahawks.
Fantasy Spin: By comparison, Kupp logged 57 snaps in Week 13. Head coach Sean McVay defended the move by suggesting it was the cost of doing business in order to establish some offensive balance on early downs. However, the flaw in that reasoning is that Kupp's playing time should not be cut in favor of backup tight end Johnny Mundt. Meanwhile, Brandin Cooks didn't make a catch in his 61 snaps. Expect Kupp to return to his normal snap count in Week 15 against the Dallas Cowboys.
Free-agent CB Jamar Taylor (Seahawks) signed an undisclosed contract with the Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday, Dec. 10.
New York Jets RB Le'Veon Bell is among the players the team is expected to make available via trade this offseason, according to sources.
Fantasy Spin: Bell is averaging only 49.1 yards rushing behind one of the league's worst offensive lines in his first season with the Jets, and it is becoming increasingly clear head coach Adam Gase either can't find a way to keep him involved in the offense or doesn't want to. A trade will be hard to accomplish as well, as the Jets would take a $15.5 million cap hit if they deal him and his hypothetical new team would have to find a way to fit one of the larger contracts at his position onto the roster.
Cincinnati Bengals WR Auden Tate (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list with a sprained left medial collateral ligament Tuesday, Dec. 10. WR Damion Willis was elevated from the practice squad to replace him on the roster.
Fantasy Spin: Tate's emergence was probably the best thing to happen to the Bengals in an otherwise lost season. Assuming A.J. Green re-signs with the team in the offseason, Tate will probably push John Ross for the other starting outside job while Tyler Boyd remains the main slot receiver. Tate, who finishes this season with 40 catches for 575 yards and a touchdown, should be considered a solid late-round flier next summer in fantasy drafts.
Dallas Cowboys WR Cedrick Wilson (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Dec. 10. OT Mitch Hyatt was elevated from the practice squad to replace him on the roster.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Parris Campbell (foot) has been placed on Injured Reserve ending his season. It's an unfortunate, yet fitting, end to the rookie's season having battled injuries to his hamstring, abdomen, and a broken hand before a fractured foot put him on season-ending IR. Campbell finishes his rookie season with 18 catches for 127 yards and one touchdown. The Colts are still unsure of T.Y. Hilton's (calf) status for their Monday night game vs New Orleans, but it's looking increasingly likely Hilton misses the game. Assuming Hilton is out, Zach Pascal has interesting WR3 value with Marcus Johnson also in the mix in deeper fantasy leagues.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are expecting to get wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) and running back James Conner (shoulder) back in time for their Week 15 game against the Buffalo Bills. Neither has played since getting injured against the Cleveland Browns in Week 11. Both players are expected to practice this week in what would be a big boost to the Pittsburgh offense as the team looks to remain in the playoff picture. Conner's return would come at an especially good time as Jaylen Samuels is looking questionable for this weekend with a groin injury. That being said, fantasy GMs need to temper their expectations for both players as the Bills have been stout on defense this season.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (abdomen) will be out for the remainder of the season after suffering an abdominal injury during the first half of Week 14's win over the Carolina Panthers. Ridley had a big game before the injury, catching five balls for 76 yards and a touchdown but went down before halftime and was unable to stand on his own. He was carted off the field and looked to be in significant pain. With Ridley out look for Russell Gage to slide in as the No. 2 receiver in Atlanta opposite Julio Jones. Gage is worth a look as a flex play in fantasy leagues going forward.
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (ankle, illness) is not expected to play Thursday night at Baltimore. Powell, who was filling in for Le'Veon Bell (illness) injured his ankle at the end of the Jets Week 14 win over the Dolphins. Powell is also apparently dealing with the flu but head coach Adam Gase said the ankle is the bigger concern right now. Powell is yet to officially be ruled out, but all signs are pointing to him not suiting up this week. The good news for New York is Bell is reportedly close to 100 percent and should reclaim his starting role with Ty Montgomery working as a change of pace back. Powell can safely be dropped by those that picked him up for the Miami game.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver D.J. Chark (ankle) was spotted in a walking boot on Monday and left the locker room using a scooter. Head coach Doug Marrone told reporters that Chark is "week-to-week" with the injury, which puts the remainder of his season in jeopardy. Chark broke out in a big way for Jacksonville in 2019, catching 67 balls for 956 yards and eight touchdowns. With Chark sidelined, look for Dede Westbrook, Chris Conley, and Keelan Cole to all see more chances within the Jacksonville passing attack.