When the 49ers and the Seahawks take to the field at Levi’s Stadium for Saturday’s first wild-card game, they’ll have to deal with an uncontrollable variable that may have a significant impact on the outcome of the contest: the weather.
Forecasts show that Santa Clara, Calif., the site of the matchup between the two NFC West rivals, is expecting thunderstorms around 4 p.m. local time, which would coincide with the second half of the game. Additionally, rain has already started to pour down in the Bay Area and is expected to continue throughout the morning, as NFL Network’s Steve Wyche reported from the scene Saturday.
“Alright, we’ve got the early morning soak on pre Niners–Seahawks. As you can see, the rain is in full effect,” Wyche said in a video posted to Twitter. “The field here at Levi’s [Stadium] is tarped but it is coming down. The wind is cracking. It’s gonna be steady like this all morning. It’s supposed to kind of ease up in the second half of the game, but we’ll see.
“It’s gonna be wet. Could be sloppy, we’ll see.”
There’s expected to be a lull in the rain during the early parts of the NFC tilt, which should give the Niners and the Seahawks a chance to put points on the board. Even if there is rain in the mix, both teams boast talented backfields—San Francisco with Christian McCaffrey and Seattle with rookie standout Kenneth Walker III—capable of carrying the offensive load should throwing the football be a challenge.
The 49ers (13–4) enter Saturday’s contest as significant favorites having won the two previous meeting against the Seahawks (9–8), but the inclement weather could prove to be the great equalizer. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. ET.