- Jeff Gold, ESPN Insider
When a team suffers a lopsided loss -- like the one the San Francisco 49ers experienced against the New York Giants last week -- players usually say they're looking forward to playing the next game as soon as possible to try to erase the memory. The 49ers are lucky to have that chance, as they host the Seattle Seahawks Thursday night.
A week ago, the 49ers were the consensus best team in the NFC (and possibly the NFL). Now? The old questions about whether Alex Smith is good enough to lead a team to a Super Bowl have reemerged. A zero-touchdown, three-interception performance, coupled with getting yanked on several occasions for Colin Kaepernick, will do that.
The Seahawks had an entirely different experience last weekend when they upset the New England Patriots with a touchdown in the final two minutes. It was one of the best wins of the Pete Carroll era. Had this game taken place a week ago, the 49ers likely would be about 10-point favorites; but at the moment, it's only 7.
With first place in the surprisingly strong NFC West on the line, be sure to take a moment to check out ESPN Insider's PickCenter to see how the public is betting the game. Right now, the Seahawks have a surprisingly strong 56.1 percent backing from the public. The only reason I say "surprising" is because the public almost always likes the favorite. But what might be even stronger than that affection is the public's reactionary nature. The 49ers got trounced, the Seahawks are coming off a great win and the line has shifted dramatically as a result.
Spread: Opened at 49ers minus-8.5; now 49ers minus-7
Total: Opened at 37.5; now 38