Going into Sunday’s NFC Championship matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers, let’s get one thing out of the way: these teams do not like each other.
This, of course, comes as a surprise to exactly no one. In the days leading up to game, there’s no shortage of talk about the feelings involved in this one.
“There’s no love lost, there’s no love found,” team orator Richard Sherman told reporters yesterday. “It’s going to be intense. It’s going to be physical. I don’t know if there’s going to be handshakes after this one.”
One has to wonder if they dislike each other simply because they are so alike–teams built on young quarterbacks, solid running games, and powerful and intense defenses. While the Seahawks are slightly favored, on paper they look dead even.
Clearly, the Seahawks have an advantage playing this one at CenturyLink Field in front of the 12th Man–they’ve gone 16-1 at home, which included two of the worst 49er losses in recent years. But San Francisco comes in having won 8 straight games, and 2 straight playoff road games, including one of the coldest in NFL history in Green Bay.
One thing to note about that 8-game winning streak: the return of WR Michael Crabtree. Since his return, the San Francisco offense has been able to spread opposing defenses and create better running lanes for RB Frank Gore and QB Colin Kaepernick, which was very evident in the victory over the Packers.
The Seahawks have depended on solid performances all season from Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, and the defense. But one area where they have not been solid lately is on third-downs. Over the past several games, Russell Wilson and the offense has noticeably struggled because they’ve only converted 29 percent (19 of 65) of third-down situations over the past 5 games. During that same stretch, Wilson has completed 57 percent of his passes, is averaging 157.6 passing yards and has only four TD passes against three interceptions. Those numbers are just south of solid, and will need to improve for the Seahawks to win.
As we said back in September, it all comes down to this. While it seems funny to say it again, if the 12th Man keys a Seahawks victory on Sunday, home field advantage will mean exactly what we thought it would back in week two: The NFC title and trip to the Super Bowl.
— Preview by Jeremy Hadley
Related Seattle Events & Info
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Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers NFC Title Game
January 19, 2014
3:30 p.m. | FOX
More info: seahawks.com
Century Link Field
800 Occidental Ave S Seattle, WA 98134
Find gameday details, information, parking at seahawks.com
Where to Watch Seahawks in Seattle
If you didn’t snag tickets to the game, check out our list below of places to watch the game.
- Capitol Hill: 95 Slide | 722 E Pike St | More info: 95slide.com
- Belltown: Belltown Pub | 2322 1st Ave | More Info: belltownpub.com
- Queen Anne/Belltown: Buckleys | 2331 2nd Ave & 232 1st Ave W | More Info: buckleysseattle.com
- University District: The Duchess | 2827 NE 55th St | More Info: Facebook page
- Northlake: Northlake Pizza Tavern | 660 NE Northlake Way | More Info: northlaketavern.com
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