Well the anticipation is building for this Sunday! In just two days, the Super Bowl will be decided, as the Broncos take on the Patriots, and the 49ers travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks. We are about to breakdown the NFC Championship, but before we do, if you want to see who are the favorites to win the Conference Championship and the Superbowl be sure to analyze the last NFL Conference Championships odds and news here.
There are two ways to look at this NFC Championship matchup. You can look at it on paper, and you can look at it on the field. Let’s start with the paper. These two defenses are dominant. The 49ers are 7th in the league against the pass, and 4th in the league against the rush. On the flip side, Seattle has that beat, as they are the best defense in the league against the pass, and 7th against the rush. On the offensive side of the ball, the two are once again strikingly similar, with the teams ranking 3rd (49ers) and 4th (Seahawks) in the rush, and 26th (Seahawks) and 30th (49ers) passing the ball.
There’s little point in dissecting these two defenses, as both are absolutely stacked with talent. Any team would kill to have the likes of Patrick Willis, Navarro Bowman, Justin Smith, and Aldon Smith, just like any team would love to have Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, and Cliff Avril. Here’s where the slight edge might be given to the Niners, as the strength of the Seahawks defense is in the secondary, which won’t concern the Niners as much given they love to run the ball.
The last point that favors San Francisco is the struggles of Seattle’s offense over the last month. Since December 8th, Seattle has scored 17, 23, 10, 27, and 23. It’s likely that in a defensive struggle 23-27 points would get the job done, but it should be noted that these points were scored against defenses that were nowhere near the caliber of the 49ers. Russell Wilson, who I love for the future, has been struggling as of late with weapons on the outside that have little to no playoff experience.
However, this is where we have to pump the breaks on San Francisco, and remember where this game is being play: Century Link Field. In Week 2, San Francisco traveled up to Seattle, and the Hawks whooped them 29-3. Two days before Christmas last year, the Seahawks gave their fans an early Christmas present by destroying the 49ers 42-13. For those of you trying to do the math, that’s 71-16 in two games in Seattle. Now I could let one of these games slide in a vacuum, but with two dominations by Seattle in as many games, I can’t really make an argument for San Francisco to go up there and win a game in Seattle.
For me, it comes down to Colin Kaepernick. Kaep will need to make some plays on the run, and be able to make accurate throws against this legendary secondardy of Seattle. I’m just not sure that he will be able to do that. At a neutral field, or in San Francisco, I would take the 49ers. However, in Seattle, I can’t go against the Hawks. Seattle wins this game 23-17 to go to New Jersey in two weeks.