It’s a shame that San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks couldn’t be in different conferences, because Sunday’s match up will be as intense as a Super Bowl game. The 49ers and Seahawks were early Super Bowl favorites for most of the season and Sunday’s battle will truly be a clash of the titans. These teams have already faced off twice this season and the rubber match will determine who heads to New York for the big game.
San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers are on an 8 game win streak and need one more for a shot at the Lombardi trophy. The 49ers defense is the crown jewel of this elite team and has carried them throughout the year. The defense ranked 3rd in fewest points allowed, 4th in rushing yards allowed and 5th in total yards allowed per game. Their point of emphasis will definitely be stopping Marshawn Lynch aka ‘Beast Mode’ who’s been bruising the league since the beginning of the season. The 49ers defense has been able to contain Lynch under 100-yards rushing in each of the previous contests.
Offensively, Colin Kaepernick needs to have by far the best game of his life. That doesn’t necessarily mean putting up astronomical numbers, but mainly managing the game well. Another point of emphasis for him will be “trying” to deceive the coverage by looking off his receivers. Expect Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree to match the Seahawks secondary with physical play. The 49ers can’t forget about Frank Gore who should be used to help keep the Seattle defense honest. They mustn’t abandon the run even if the Seahawks stack the box giving an invitation to pass.
Not enough can be said about what Pete Carroll has brought to the Seahawks’ organization. Carroll coaches with a strut that his players love it and they replicate it on the field. You can see the confidence and cockiness all over Seattle. They truly believe they can’t be stopped. That more than anything sets them apart from the rest in the league.
Their offense ended the regular season with the 4th best rushing attack and they put up the 9th most points per game. The 49ers will do all they can to eliminate Marshawn Lynch from the equation and history has proven that they can contain him. Russell Wilson will have to be stellar. In their divisional match up against the New Orleans Saints Wilson threw for 103 yards and while that was enough to make it against the Saints, he’s going to need a little more to beat San Fran.
Defensively what can you say? The Seahawks D led the league in the regular season in points per game, total yards per game, pass yards per game and came in 7th in fewest rushing yards allowed. The point of emphasis for them would be to just play Seahawk defense. They believe with every snap that they are the better team on the field every game. If they take away Kaepernick’s ability to throw they’ll be in good shape to win.
Prediction: The Seahawks and 49ers matchup is going to be a slugfest, divisional rivals playing for the NFC Championship. How much influence will the infamous “12th man” in Seattle have on this game? This probably will go down as the best game thus far in the post season.
21-17 49ers Win