SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The Seattle Seahawks maintained their divisional lead over the 49ers with a 34-22 win over the Cardinals Thursday night.

“There’s a lot of talk about their quarterback and he’s good, (and) the running back (and) their offense,” John Madden told the KCBS Radio morning crew. “But I really like their defense. They have speed, they have pass rushers, they have good tacklers, they have great defensive backs. I don’t know who would be second, but they have to be the best defense in football.”

The 49ers can stay just a game behind with a road win over the Tennessee Titans Sunday.

“(The 49ers) are the better team,” Madden said. “If they play up to their standards and Tennessee plays up to their standards, even though the game is in Tennessee, the 49ers will win.”

Titans running back Chris Johnson, once considered one of the best in the league, isn’t having a good season.

“He hasn’t lit it up for a couple of years,” Madden said. “He was really good three years ago. He has great speed. When he would break through the line and get into the secondary, no one could catch him… He was one of the most fun backs in the league to watch.”

John said Johnson’s performance problems date back to a contract dispute in 2011, when he held out at the beginning of the season. “Then he didn’t have a good year, and he hasn’t had a good year since,” John said. (6:55)

Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM. And catch John’s extra report at 9:15 am Mondays and Fridays on KCBS during the NFL season.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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