SAN FRANCISCO -- There's not a cloud visible here at Candlestick Park, where temperatures in the low 80s should make for warmer than usual conditions for the 8:20 p.m. kickoff between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.
Recommended reading as you await kickoff:
Chris Sprow's piece for Insider is probably the smartest one I've read regarding Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Lots of interesting details. He notes that Wilson, despite being shorter than other quarterbacks, has bigger hands than Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden and even Cam Newton. Sprow: "Anybody who's tossed an NFL ball around knows it's not the arm strength, it's being able to wrap your hands around the thing that matters most. One comes before the other. Quarterbacks haven't always been tall because they have to be. They often are because at a young age, QB isn't just determined by who can see over people, but rather by who can actually grip a full-size football. It's not a surprise that some of the bigger kids can do so at a young age, and they become QBs."
The against-the-spread staff picks Tim Kawakami passes along invoke the idea that a good team coming off a blowout defeat will play angry the next week, covering the spread. The thinking caught my attention after reading a recent study on that subject. I'm not sure where I saw the study first, but some Googling led me to Beyond the Bets. Their findings: Teams losing by 21-plus points one week recently went 73-76-4 against the spread as favorites the next week. The theory is that oddsmakers adjust for conventional wisdom by increasing the spread. The 49ers opened as a nine-point favorite against Seattle. That spraed fell to seven points. San Francisco is 8-1 against the spread in its past nine divisional home games.
Greg Cosell of NFL Films joins Adam Caplan in breaking down the Thursday night game for their podcast. Cosell analyzes all the coaching video and offers thoughts regularly. Here's the audio link. He thinks the Seattle run game will struggle against the 49ers after surprisingly struggling against New England. He questions whether Wilson can connect on deep throws against the 49ers even though he thought Carlos Rogers and Chris Culliver struggled some against the Giants. Cosell also breaks down Alex Smith's struggles in that game.
Bill Simmons is taking the Seahawks from his seat near the front of the Wilson bandwagon.
Less than four hours til kickoff now. I'm sitting here in the press box with eight fans. These fans are the oscillating kind. Like I said, it's warm here.