What could have been one of the marquee matchups of the 2012 NFL season -- San Francisco at Seattle in prime time this coming Sunday night -- has become merely one of the better ones.
That is great for the 49ers, not so great for the Seahawks.
Around the NFC West: Dec. 17, 2012
Seattle may or may not need another victory to qualify for postseason. San Francisco is already in, and the 49ers can win the NFC West with just one more victory this season or if Seattle loses in Week 17.
Wild-card seeding is most likely at stake for Seattle. That seeding could mark the difference between a trip to Green Bay or San Francisco and, say, a trip to face an NFC East team. Those are not the sorts of contingencies that galvanize a team, fan base or national TV audience.
The 49ers-Seahawks game now becomes as much about showcasing two rising young quarterbacks. Seattle's Russell Wilson, in leading the Seahawks during a 50-17 victory against Buffalo in Week 15, became the first NFL quarterback with three rushing touchdowns and a passing touchdown in a first half.
Wilson had already played his way into consideration for offensive rookie of the year honors. He's gaining ground on primary competitors Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.
Luck fell to 9-5 as a starter with a defeat at Houston. He has 20 touchdowns, 18 interceptions, a 75.5 NFL passer rating and 65.5 Total QBR score while carrying his team's offense. Griffin has a 7-6 starting record with 18 touchdowns, four interceptions, 748 yards rushing, six rushing touchdowns, a 104.2 rating and 71.3 QBR score. The Washington Redskins won without him Sunday.
Griffin's injury status will affect his ability to compete for the award.
Wilson now has a 9-5 record, 21 touchdown passes, nine picks, 402 yards rushing, three rushing touchdowns, a 95.5 rating and 68.7 QBR score. Wilson leads the NFL in QBR from Week 6 to present at 85.1, outranking Peyton Manning (82.2), Tom Brady (79.7) and Aaron Rodgers (79.3). The 49ers' Colin Kaepernick is next over that span at 75.5, at least among quarterbacks with at least 100 pass attempts.
Should be a fun one at CenturyLink Field on Sunday night.