Well, well…..looks like this will be a weekend where old rivalries will decide the fate and the future of 4 elite NFL teams – the 49ers, Seahawks, Broncos & Patriots.
With the NFC Championship, the San Francisco 49ers, led by Patrick Willis, Colin Kaepernick & Jim Harbaugh, will go up to Seattle to take on Richard Sherman, Russell Wilson & the rest of the Seahawks. The teams split their division matchups this year, both winning at home.
For the 49ers to have a chance in this game, they must eliminate the 12th man factor. The building will be loud and it will be hostile, which means the 49ers must het their running game established early on & set the tone for the short pasing game to TE Vernon Davis as well as get the receivers going underneath and not challenging the amped up secondary in the early going.
Colin Kaepernick will also have to show poise early on, where I do believe the game will be won or lost quickly. Seattle loves to bring pressure from the secondary as well as from the LB position, & in the first few drives, Kap will need to be able to settle with some of the short, intermediate level passes to get some of the heat off. If he can manage that, the crowd’s energy will go away quickly.
For the Seahawks, they will have to continue being who they are on defense – aggressive, rowdy, and in your face on every play. If they can frustrate the 49ers receivers – mainly Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree & Vernon Davis – that will make Kaepernick & Frank Gore have to win on their own, and the 49ers aren’t built for that type of comeback.
It also goes without saying that if Marshawn Lynch can get established early on and take the game to that dominant 49ers front seven, it could be a long day for the defense.
This is going to be an old school, physical football game that will be low scoring and fun from a defensive standpoint. Its a hard pick on this one, but I do believe that the 49ers have something to prove with getting back to the SuperBowl. The team looks even better than last year’s unit & I see the 49ers taking care of the Seahawks, 23-20.