By Sam McPherson
If the San Francisco 49ers cannot make the playoffs in 2015, the team and its fans would love nothing more than to drive a nail into the coffin of the Seattle Seahawks’ postseason aspirations. The 49ers have a chance to do that this weekend when they travel to Seattle for a Sunday matchup against the hated two-time defending NFC champions.READ MORE: Carrie Underwood's "The Denim & Rhinestones Tour" To Make Stop In Sacramento
The Arizona Cardinals have a three-game lead on the Seahawks for the NFC West Division race; and if San Francisco can stick Seattle with another loss to drop the Seahawks to 4-6, it would be highly unlikely that Seattle would even get the chance to defend its NFC crown this January. That’s plenty of motivation for the 49ers, who will take on the Seahawks with a collection of no-name running backs and a quarterback named Blaine.
No. 1 backfield threat Carlos Hyde will not play on Sunday after missing workouts on both Wednesday and Thursday with his foot injury. Hyde turned in a dominant performance the first week of the season, but he hasn’t been able to do much since for a variety of reasons, leaving the 49ers offense barren in the backfield and at the bottom of the NFL’s rankings for yards and points. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert will have to rely on running backs Shaun Draughn and Kendall Gaskins against the Seattle defense, which is No. 11 this season against the run (giving up just 100.6 yards per game on the ground).
Also, wide receiver Anquan Boldin, the team’s leading receiver in both 2013 and 2014, has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury. Even coming off the bye week, he is doubtful to play on Sunday. Boldin was limited in workouts this week and without him, Gabbert will struggle against the Legion of Boom secondary in Seattle. The Seahawks defense may not be what it once was, but the 49ers just don’t have the receiving weapons to take advantage of this, especially without Boldin on the field.
Two are three other major injury concerns for the 49ers as they head north for a potentially rainy game this weekend. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman (shoulder) missed practice on Wednesday, but he was a full participant on Thursday in workouts. Bowman is probable for the Sunday game; but as ever, he could be one bad bonk from suffering even more injury. That’s never a good thing for the leader of the defense. Cornerback Kenneth Acker (concussion), however, is questionable for the Seahawks game as he still works through the league’s protocol for head injuries. He didn’t play in the Week 9 win over the Atlanta Falcons and Acker also was limited this week in practice; he is suffering from a chest injury as well.READ MORE: Roseville Police Investigating A Fight That Turned Fatal
Five other 49ers players were listed on the injury report this week, but all were able to practice fully this week. Thus, each of them is probably for Sunday’s game: Cornerback Tramaine Brock (shoulder), linebacker Ahmad Brooks (shoulder), quarterback Colin Kaepernick (left shoulder), cornerback Keith Reaser (ankle) and safety Eric Reid (chest).
NaVorro Bowman, Linebacker (shoulder)
Tramaine Brock, Cornerback (shoulder)
Ahmad Brooks, Linebacker (shoulder)
Colin Kaepernick, Quarterback (shoulder)
Keith Reaser, Cornerback (ankle)
Eric Reid, Safety (chest)
Kenneth Acker, Cornerback (chest/concussion)
Anquan Boldin, Wide Receiver (hamstring)
Carlos Hyde, Running Back (foot)
Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering baseball, football, basketball, golf, hockey and fantasy sports for CBS, AXS and Examiner. He also is an Ironman triathlete and certified triathlon coach.