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Early Week 17 Preview: 49ers vs. Seahawks

The 49ers and Seahawks have a long history, going back to 1976. Here are photos from their 38 meetings.

The San Francisco 49ers (2-13) finish the 2016 regular season this Sunday at home against the Seattle Seahawks (9-5-1).

The 49ers have won nine consecutive regular season finales at home. Seattle has won six straight games over San Francisco. Something has to give.

There's much at stake for the Seahawks in this NFC West clash. The division champions can improve their seeding in the NFC playoffs. A Seattle victory and a loss or tie from the Atlanta Falcons would clinch a first-round bye for the Seahawks. A Seattle tie, plus a Falcons loss and a tie between the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions, would also give the Seahawks the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

Here's a closer look at Sunday's Week 17 matchup.
All-time Record: 15-21 (0-1 in the postseason)

Seattle has won six consecutive games over San Francisco. The 49ers last win over the Seahawks was on Dec. 8, 2013 at Candlestick Park. San Francisco is 0-2 all-time against Seattle at Levi's® Stadium.

Previous Matchup: Seahawks 37 – 49ers 18 (Sept. 25, 2016 in Seattle)

Russell Wilson threw for 243 yards and a touchdown in a one-sided game back in Week 3. A Blaine Gabbert-led 49ers offense struggled to move the ball, going 4-for-15 on their third-down conversions. Seattle also produced 418 yards of offense and rushed for a pair of touchdowns. Christine Michael, the running back who carried 20 times for 106 yards and scored twice, is no longer with Seattle. He was released midway through the season.

The Seahawks Best Player: Wilson

Seattle's signal-caller was hampered by a high-ankle sprain during the previous matchup with San Francisco. The injury effected Wilson's mobility and limited his production in the passing game this year. That being said, Wilson has still completed 65 percent of his throws (334-of-514 passing) for 3,961 receiving yards with 20 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. Wilson has a 92.4 quarterback rating, the lowest of his five-year NFL career. He still remains the top player the 49ers must stop.

Who You Should Get to Know: Bobby Wagner

Seattle's unassuming inside linebacker leads the NFL with 155 tackles. Wagner also has 2.5 sacks and one interception on the year. Wagner's teammates in the secondary get most of the attention from the media, but the 'backer up front plays a big factor in stopping opposing running backs. Seattle ranks eighth in the NFL in rush defense, allowing 95 yards per game on the ground. Wagner is also talented at covering tight ends and intermediate throws over the middle.

Where They Excel: Scoring Defense

You might be able to move the ball at times against Seattle's defense. Scoring touchdowns is a whole different story. Seattle has allowed 17.9 points per game, good for second-best in the NFL this season. The Seahawks have been playing without free safety Earl Thomas, but the defense still has Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman in the defensive backfield. The Seahawks have only allowed 15 passing touchdowns this season, good for third-best in the league.

Where They Struggle: Extra Points

As trivial as it may sound, special teams have been an issue for Seattle. Kicker Steven Hauschka has missed five extra points this season (28-of-33). He's also missed four field goals (29-of-33). Hauschka has the reputation of being one of the best kickers in the NFL, but he's struggled at times in 2016. Most recently, the Seahawks kicker missed a game-winning PAT last week against the Arizona Cardinals. The loss hurt Seattle's chances of earning a first-round bye. They'll need sound kicking on Sunday to increase their chances of earning the NFC's No. 2 seed.

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