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What to watch for in Seahawks-49ers on 'TNF'

The Seattle Seahawks (2-4) are coming off back-to-back losses in which they let leads slip through their fingers in the fourth quarter. The defending NFC champs are desperate for a win, which could be very bad news for the San Francisco 49ers (2-4), their opponent on Thursday night.

Here's what we'll be watching for:

  1. Colin Kaepernick is coming off his best game of the season, which could be evidence he has put his disastrous two-game stretch against the Cardinals and Packers behind him. But he risks another tumble off the statistical cliff if he looks Richard Sherman's way on Thursday. In six career games against Seattle (five losses), Kaepernick has no touchdowns and six interceptions when targeting a receiver covered by Seattle's shutdown corner.
  1. Has Jimmy Graham found his groove? Graham enjoyed a breakout game in Week 5, finishing with eight catches for 140 yards in the loss to the Panthers. For all the hand-wringing about Seattle's struggles to assimilate Graham into its scheme, it should be noted he has been targeted more this season than he was in any of his final four seasons with the Saints. He leads the team in catches (29) and receiving yards (344) and is tied for the Seahawks' lead in touchdowns (2). Jimmy is gonna be OK.
  1. The Seahawks are supposed to have one of the most dominant defenses of all-time, so why can't they close a damn game anymore? Seattle has held a fourth-quarter lead in all of its four losses and have been outscored 51-9 (!) in the final period and overtime since Week 2. That streak of blown leads stretches to five if you count Super Bowl XLIX against the Patriots. Sunday's game was lost on a grisly communication breakdown within the famed Legion Of Boom, allowing Greg Olsen to get wide open on his game-winning touchdown.
  1. Can the Niners get Carlos Hyde going again? Hyde sent hearts aflutter in fantasy land after his 168-yard, two-touchdown performance in Week 1. Since? Hyde has rushed for just 262 yards on 78 carries (3.4 yards per attempt) with one touchdown. San Francisco's vast struggles throwing the ball haven't helped, leading to a mess of stacked boxes for the talented second-year back.
  1. This feels like the week we finally see Marshawn Lynch go full Beast Mode. The Seahawks running back has been slowed by lower body injuries and has averaged a career-low 3.3 yards per carry. Lynch is third on his own team in rushing, and the absence of vintage Lynch might explain why Seattle hasn't been closing games out like the good old days. We predict Lynch finds the end zone twice Thursday, with visiting 12s raining Skittles upon enemy turf.
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