Here is a link to my Sunday column predicting the winner of the 49ers-Seahawks showdown. The full text appears below:

I don’t usually get involved at this level, predicting the outcome of a game, giving the score. That’s for beat writers. Today, I’m breaking my rule.

Seahawks 23, 49ers 19.

Today’s game is a big game. “Big” hardly says it, is inadequate as an adjective. Most adjectives are inadequate. Don’t get me started on adverbs.

This game is so (big, huge, gigantic, enormous, whopping) I want my say. I refuse to stand on the sideline cradling a clipboard.

Today, the 49ers either show they are an elite team, one to be feared in the playoffs, or they prove they’re just another pretty good team, a team which may or may not make the playoffs. And if they do make the playoffs, they exit stage left pretty quick.

This game means everything to the 49ers, and that may be good for them — it adds the motivation factor.

The 49ers also have the historical factor. Call it the advantage of history. They have done well in rivalry games. They usually beat Seattle at Candlestick Park. You know all the historical reasons to pick the Niners. I know all the historical reasons.

Forget history. Why? Because, by definition history is in the past. It’s over. I look at these two teams right now, look at them as dispassionately as I can, and the Seahawks are better than the 49ers. I see Seattle winning a close, exhausting, grim game between two proud, tough teams giving everything they have.

I don’t see the 49ers scoring 20 points against the Seahawks’ defense. The 49ers scored seven points against the Colts, nine points against Carolina, both games at home. That’s who these Niners are, low scorers. They won’t go off today and score tons of points. Just not built that way. Plus, the Seahawks match up great against the Niners.

You want specifics? Here are specifics.

In their first game this season, the Seahawks held Anquan Boldin to one catch for 7 yards. It’s like Boldin wasn’t even there. A week earlier, he had gone off, just went nuts against the Packers, and people were writing he was the answer and the savior and the bee’s knees. Wrong. The truth is good corners — cue Seattle’s Richard Sherman — take him out of the game.

Oh, but wait. Michael Crabtree is back and he changes the equation. Defenses shudder at the mere sight of No. 15 and that opens up the offense for greatness.


The Seahawks will jam Crabtree at the line of scrimmage. They’ll disrupt his routes. They’ll make him look like someone slowed by a serious injury. Pete Carroll will control him with one defender because, believe me, Carroll won’t show him any respect.

Vernon Davis will make a certain amount of plays — he’s that good. But the Seahawks always do well against him. He has not caught a touchdown pass against them since 2010. The last game against Seattle at Candlestick Park he caught no passes.

You may think I’m missing the Colin Kaepernick factor. Here’s the fantasy storyline: He will prove his superiority over Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson once and for all and lead his team to a stunning and glorious victory against those obnoxious bullies from the north.

Kaepernick will rise up like a superhero in a comic book and deliver a heroic performance that makes everything right.

It’s just that he hasn’t been particularly heroic in a long time.

Don’t expect him to be Superman or Spider-Man or Captain Marvel in today’s game. There simply are no indications this will be his signature performance. He was not a hero against Carolina, and now he’s going to be a hero against Seattle? Not likely.

What you will see, I believe, is Colin One-Read Kaepernick dropping back to pass with no one to pass to, Kaepernick looking confused, Kaepernick scrambling. And that will work some of the time. It just won’t work enough of the time.

But, Frank Gore will have a (big, huge, gigantic enormous, whopping) game. Don’t kid yourself. He is not running well. His legs look old. Bad teams have stopped him.

The Seahawks are not a bad team. Gore’s job is tougher because the 49ers’ offensive line is hurt and won’t block well enough for him.

The Niners’ defense will play well because it is among the best. It is a pleasure to watch — intelligent, strong, determined. And it will frustrate the Seahawks often. But it doesn’t do well with Marshawn Lynch. And it doesn’t do well with the read-option.

Remember the read-option? The Niners’ offense was supposed to knock the socks off the league with the read-option — until the Niners gave up on the read-option after two games.

Well, the read-option is alive and well in Seattle, and Wilson murdered the 49ers in Week 2 running it. It was tough to stop then and it’s just as tough to stop now. One more thing. And this is a gut-feeling thing. Jim Harbaugh used to have the edge against Carroll going back to college ball — “What’s your deal” and all that. I feel the edge had shifted and Carroll has it now. He’s built his team specifically to beat the Niners, specifically to control the NFC West. If he wins today, he wins the NFC West title.

My gut feeling says he will.

For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at lowell.cohn@pressdemocrat.com.

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  1. russell

    First off, beware the “faithful”. haha. Now as to your prediction, I agree with you, though I honestly won’t be surprised either way. I am hoping for a defensive type of hard-hitting game, maybe 17-16 or 20-19, etc. Lynch tends to do well vs the Niners and I think that’s the difference here, but turnovers tend to be the great equalizer in the NFL so I say the Niners one great shot is to force more turnovers than they cough up. I know that may be rudimentary, but I think Seattle is better and it really is just that simple. Either way, I am fired up and ready to watch the game, I just hope it isn’t a let down.

    December 7th, 2013 9:44 pm

  2. Greg beydoun

    For a man who speaks of history you should know history repeats it’s self ? It sounds like all you do is reiterate NFL live or Trent dilfers Critism of Kapernick. No respect for Crabtree is what your giving here not Pete caroll. 950 yeards and 9 touchdowns in 10 games last season with Kapernick at QB. Get some original ideas and be bold enough to make your own analysis of football before writing professionally about Pro football

    December 7th, 2013 10:18 pm

  3. lameduck

    “Predictions? Predictions? Pain….”
    Clubber Lang, Rocky III

    December 7th, 2013 10:21 pm

  4. Nancy R

    A rather depressing prediction. I think the score will be higher than you say…whoever wins. I think there will be some Niner heroes, even if they lose. With your dreary prediction we can only be delighted if there is a great performance by the Niners. I think some of our receivers will awe us. Seattle are a mean machine and
    doggedly, defiantly determined to go all the way.

    December 8th, 2013 6:01 am

  5. B-Rad

    With the 28th pick of the first round of the 1994 NFL draft, the Niners took
    fullback William Floyd, an OK player in his 7 years with the Niners & Panthers.
    18 picks later, Dallas took an offensive lineman who was playing college
    ball just 50 miles north of Candlestick but who became, arguably, the
    greatest O-lineman in NFL history – an 11 time pro bowl selection and a
    member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    Tell me that Richard Sherman, who played for both Harbaugh and Fangio
    at Stanford and who one NFL ‘expert’ has called ‘already the best corner
    in the NFL’ and who was drafted in the 5th round of the 2011 NFL draft
    by our current arch-enemy, won’t be a reincarnation of Larry Allen.

    December 8th, 2013 9:01 am

  6. Stan

    Where was Trent when DeShaun was on the trading block at Buffalo? 49ers didn’t even chase him. I knew that was a mistake.
    Or Keenan Allan in San Diego?.

    I will never understand how the best local collegiate players are ignored at draft time by the two local pro teams. Don’t they read Sunday morning sports pages?

    December 8th, 2013 9:46 am

  7. Neal

    I don’t think the Niners will win, they just don’t have that killer offense and leave off a lot of points off the scoreboard, but who the heck knows, what will happen.

    December 8th, 2013 10:53 am

  8. Stan

    Matt Flynn not thriving in the vaunted Green Bay system? Maybe he stinks as QB,and Rogers is just very good?

    Bad implications for the Raiders also. Unless they get a Rogers level QB,Reggie’s system might just flounder forever…

    December 8th, 2013 11:30 am

  9. mbabco

    Hard to predict. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Seahawks won by 2 or 3 TDs. I wouldn’t be surprised if the 49ers won (or lost) a close game. I would think the niners need get a turnover or two to win. I’m not optimistic about Kaepernick having a good game: hopefully he can at least be a good game manager.

    December 8th, 2013 11:31 am

  10. Streetglide

    Niners 73-3…

    December 8th, 2013 12:35 pm

  11. Neal

    We are both wrong and I am quite happy about it

    December 8th, 2013 4:45 pm

  12. k.g.

    That game looked like some good old “homecooking” to me! Any, and every positive yardage the Seahawks made was called back, due to a penalty!?!?

    Then Pam Oliver gets on TV reading a note that Harbaugh sent to the Refs in regards to calling penalties on the Seahawks for holding, & grabbing. which it appears that the Ref Complied with…LOL, Amazing, and fixed….

    December 8th, 2013 4:46 pm

  13. b4huxley

    Looks like you were wrong Cohn

    December 8th, 2013 4:50 pm

  14. B

    What was that, Lowell?

    December 8th, 2013 5:02 pm

  15. Gopal

    Seattle did beat the 2.5 point spread.

    December 8th, 2013 5:20 pm

  16. Dennis

    Well, you got the close game part right.

    December 8th, 2013 5:25 pm

  17. Tommy CostaRica

    You’re right Lowell, I don’t think the Niners can score 20 points on the hawks. I’m predicting something like Niners 19 hawks 17 :-) And that Frank Gore will have a 51 yard scoot…..

    December 8th, 2013 6:46 pm

  18. Nancy R

    In a battle of attrition Coach Carroll got outfoxxed by Coach Harbaugh.

    December 8th, 2013 7:58 pm

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