AFP/ Los Angeles, United States
NFL MVP candidate Russell Wilson will lead the Seattle Seahawks against the league’s last undefeated team the San Francisco 49ers in marquee showdown of NFC West Division rivals.
It is not very often the league’s top defence faces the MVP frontrunner so the combination of Seattle’s explosive offence and the 49ers stingy defence should make Monday’s matchup the game of the week.
Wilson is off to one the best starts of his career, powering Seattle to a 7-2 record and making them a serious playoff contender.
San Francisco defensive end Dee Ford said the key to stopping the Seahawks is to bottle up Wilson.
“Tackle him and that’s a hard task,” Ford said. “But, honestly, you’ve still got to play defense, got to play sound defense, what we’ve been doing.”
Seattle’s defense has struggled of late so if there is any contest where they will need Russell to perform like an MVP this is it.
The electrifying Wilson protects the ball very well and is masterful at slipping tackles. He has just one interception all season.
“We’ve got to all be on one page, still be aggressive, but understand that he can be Houdini at times and really get out outside the pocket and make some things happen,” Ford added.
San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will be looking to take advantage of any weaknesses in the Seattle defense.
The 49ers, who are 8-0 on the season, have home-field advantage and have had 10 days to prepare for Seattle in the first of two contests between the teams this season.
In other games this weekend, two dynamic players are likely returning and Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers will be aiming to regroup.
Arizona running back David Johnson and Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes missed recent games but look ready to make some noise on Sunday.
As the week goes on, Mahomes has had his workload steadily increased in preparation for the Tennessee Titans.
There is a good chance he will play as long as his knee feels strong enough.
Johnson, who missed the past two games and most of the Week 7 game against the New York Giants, declared that he’s “definitely playing” as the Cardinals battle Tampa Bay.
One injured star that is not ready yet is A.J. Green, who Cincinnati had hoped would be healthy enough to make his season debut.
Bengals receiver Green announced Thursday that was not the case as the swelling around his ankle is still giving him problems.
“I can’t go out there when I am not 100%,” said Green.
Rodgers and the Packers will be seeking to rebound after a disappointing 26-11 loss to the Chargers.
Not only will Rodgers have to play better but also the offensive line needs a bounce-back performance after struggling to contain the Chargers.
“I think this is just the kind of a game that we’re going to learn from,” Rodgers said. “Obviously, we didn’t start very fast on either side of the ball.
“On offense, we just didn’t have that normal juice that we do most game days. We started off with a couple of penalties and some three-and-outs and some negative-yardage plays.
“I think we just need to get back to the basics this week and get refocused.
“A lot of great teams have gone through those dud games where they’re just sloshing through games.”
Rodgers will be tested by a defense that has compiled an NFL leading 34 sacks.
In other games, the Dallas Cowboys renew their long-standing rivalry with the Minnesota Vikings at Cowboys Stadium in Texas.
The Cowboys, who are playing on a short week, have won two straight.
The Vikings are playing consecutive road games after losing at Kansas City.
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