Perhaps the most heated rivalry in the NFL exists between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers, and this Sunday at 6:30 ET on FOX, the Seahawks get to renew their rivalry with the 49ers once again, this time for the NFC Championship.
Each game between the two is extremely physical and incredibly exciting. The two match-ups this season have been as good as advertised, and football fans now have the pleasure to see this intense NFC rivalry renewed with a Super Bowl appearance at stake.
These two extremely talented teams split the regular season games, each one beating the other on home soil. The Week 2 decision in Seattle was a more lopsided affair, with Seattle playing excellent defense en route to a 29-3 win in front of the raucous 12th man.
Seattle has a huge advantage going into this one since it’ll be played in front of the 12th man. The Seahawks’ fans disdain the 49ers with almost as much passion as the players disdain each other, and they are going to be insanely loud whenever the 49ers are on offense. The morale boost is another advantage for the Seahawks, as winning the NFC by beating their rivals in front of their fans serves as a huge incentive (as if they already need one. I mean, a Super Bowl trip is on the line).
This game is sure to be physical, with both defenses dictating the game. Marshawn Lynch and Frank Gore have a tough assignment in the front seven of the opposing defenses. Whichever running back who has a better day might indicate who wins, but I don’t envision either having much success on the ground.
Turnovers will be crucial to deciding this one, as it’s gonna be close. In Week 2, Seattle dominated the turnover margin and thus dominated the final score. The 49ers will undoubtedly focus on protecting the ball this time around in Seattle, so the turnover margin is going to be much closer. As in most games, however, whoever wins that category usually wins the game.
For the 49ers, the key is Colin Kaepernick through the air. Seattle’s defense embarrassed him Week 2 in Seattle, and the noise is going to affect how he communicates with his receivers and blockers. His poise in the pocket and decision-making need to be more than impressive for them to win. If Seattle’s crowd and front seven fluster him, the Legion of Boom will make him pay and give Seattle the victory.
For the Seahawks, Russell Wilson has to have a better game than last week, but as I said in my last article, Seattle’s receivers need to step up, too. They are without Percy Harvin, but there’s still a plethora of talented guys. The key is getting separation from these talented San Francisco corners and giving Wilson options. If Seattle can make some plays through the air, the 49ers will have to respect the passing attack, and that’s when Marshawn Lynch can strike on the ground.
This NFC Championship is going to be one of the most exciting games football lovers have seen in recent years. In fact, I’d venture a guess that this game might even be more exciting than this year’s Super Bowl.
It surely won’t be one to miss.