January 17th, 2014
When push comes to shove, it becomes clear that the Seattle Seahawks (13-3) and the San Francisco 49ers (12-4) plain don’t like each other. Oddly, they are very similar. Both have head coaches who came from the college ranks (Pete Carroll, Jim Harbaugh), both have a dynamic dual-threat QB (Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick), both have tough-minded RBs (Marshawn Lynch, Frank Gore), and each has a tough, hard-hitting defense.
Owners of the longest winning streak in the NFL (8), the 49ers are playing in their 15th Conference Championship Game (tying Pittsburgh for the most since 1970). Jim Harbaugh leads the 49ers to their third straight NFC Championship Game, the only head coach to do that in his first three seasons.
It should come as no surprise that San Francisco’s winning steak coincided with the return of deep threat WR Michael Crabtree. QB Colin Kaepernick is the biggest beneficiary of Crabtree’s return, as he’s posted a 100.0 passer rating and an impressive 12:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio over the past eight games.
Things won’t be easy for Kaepernick and the 49ers, however, as the Seahawks defense is just the fourth in NFL history to finish the season ranked #1 in both interceptions and fewest passing yards allowed. The other three teams to accomplish that feat? All wound up in the Super Bowl.
Seattle also has one of the toughest home field advantages in the NFL. Since drafting QB Russell Wilson the Seahawks have an amazing 17-1 record at home.
In Seattle’s Divisional Playoff win over New Orleans, Pro Bowl RB Marshawn Lynch rushed for a franchise postseason-record 140 yards and two touchdowns. In five career playoff games, Lynch has rushed for five touchdowns and has three 100-yard games. Beast mode.
The 49ers are rolling. The Seahawks have a brutal defense and are nearly invincible at home. Push has come to shove. Who is going to win?
Watch the NFC Championship Game live on FOX this Sunday at 6:30 PM ET!