NFC Championship Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers - 1/19/14
San Francisco 49ers (12-4) at Seattle Seahawks (13-3)
NFL Football: Sunday, January 19, 2014 at 6:30 pm (CenturyLink Field)
The Line: Seattle Seahawks -3 -- Over/Under: 40.5 See the Latest Odds
The NFC Championship and a trip to the Super Bowl will be decided this week when the San Francisco 49ers visit the Seattle Seahawks for the second time this season.
If a Manning-Brady matchup wasn’t exciting enough, we also get a clash between two of the better young quarterbacks and the two best defenses in the league. Since 2009 the road team in this series has only won one game, and that was San Francisco at Seattle in 2011 with Tarvaris Jackson under center. Since then these two teams have been unbeatable against each other at home. The major difference in these head to head matchups is the margin of victory by which the home team wins. The last two meetings in San Francisco, the Niners won 17-19 and 6-13 with an average margin of victory of 4.5 points. Seattle on the other hand has won their last two home games against San Fran in blowout fashion winning 13-43 and 3-29 respectively. The average margin of victory for Seattle at home against San Francisco over the past two seasons is four touchdowns.
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San Francisco is coming off of an impressive road win at Carolina (the Green Bay victory being less impressive) where both sides of the ball thoroughly dominated the Panthers. Carolina scored twice in the second quarter, but was shut out for the rest of the game, despite averaging more total offensive yards and yards per play than San Francisco.
Although Seattle didn’t blow out the Saints in the scorebook, the on field play looked to be otherwise. New Orleans was only able to manage two fourth quarter touchdowns, but moved the ball for over 400 total offensive yards. The Seattle D gave up over 100 yards on the ground, which could be troublesome when facing a Gore-Kaepernick rushing attack that combined for 126 yards against Carolina. Beast Mode (Marshawn Lynch) finally owned up to his nickname last week running for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries. Lynch has proven that he can turn on Beast Mode at anytime, particularly late in the season, where he can strap his own team and the opposing defense on his back on the way to the Super Bowl.
Much like Denver, Seattle has been the anointed team in the NFC to reach the Super Bowl for the majority of the season. Both teams should be feeling equal pressure this weekend; Seattle to validate their mid season hype, and San Francisco to overcome the colossus that Seattle has become at home. Both teams have an elite defense, a young mobile quarterback, better than average receivers and good coaching. Marshawn Lynch is the only glaring difference between the two teams, and coupled with the home field advantage effect that cannot be ignored, Seattle could continue the recent trend of playing their best at home.