In the NFC Championship Game, the two best defenses in the league square off as the Seattle Seahawks host the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday Jan 19th, where the winner books a ticket for the 2014 Super Bowl. Oddsmakers favor the Seahawks by -3.5 points with the total set at a low 39 points. In just the past three seasons, the rivalry between the Seahawks and 49ers has become the best in the NFL. Not only are these two great teams with two great coaches and two of the NFL’s most exciting quarterbacks, they both play exciting, explosive, hard-hitting football. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh hated each other back in 2009, when both were still coaching college ball. One of them will go on to the Super Bowl and one will be watching from home. Be sure to get your NFC Championship predictions in ahead of kick-off.
The 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick is not particularly good when he plays the Seahawks’ top-ranked pass defense. In two games this year, he’s gone 28 of 57 for 302 yards with four interceptions and one touchdown.
Since Week 6, RB Frank Gore has rushed for over 100 yards just once, but he did pass 65 yards in eight of those 12 games. Since the Week 9 BYE, he has scored only three TDs. He did tally 84 yards on 4.9 yards per carry against a tough Carolina Panthers run defense in the divisional round, 39 of those came on one play. Don’t expect to many like that in Seattle.
WR Anquan Boldin will likely draw Pro Bowl CB Richard Sherman for most of the game. Boldin showed his ability to exploit matchups with 208 yards in 13 catches in Week 1, but he did not eclipse 100 receiving yards again until Week 17. He’s coming off a big game against the Panthers and he went for 93 yards the last time out against Seattle. WR Michael Crabtree has found the end zone just once since returning on Dec. 1 from an Achilles injury, and he won’t find again it in Seattle. The secondary has three Pro Bowlers with Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. Good luck with that.
The Seahawks allowed six touchdowns to tight ends all season. Niners TE Vernon Davis totaled just 41 yards in two games against Seattle this year, he did find the end zone once.
The Seahawks QB Russell Wilson completed only nine of his 18 passes for 103 yards and no touchdowns. They beat the New Orleans Saints with their rushing attack, but Wilson’s stat line looked similar to the Week 16 loss to the Arizona Cardinals (11 of 27 for 108 yards). The Niners pass defense held Aaron Rodgers to 177 yards in frigid weather, and then forced Cam Newton into two interceptions. Wilson has not thrown more than one TD since Dec. 2.
Though the Niners ranked fourth against the rush, RB Marshawn Lynch ran for 170 yards and three touchdowns in the two meetings. He set a franchise playoff record last week on 140 yards with a pair of touchdowns.
WR Golden Tate was held to just one catch in the win over the Saints, but he finished off the regular season in fine form with eight receptions for 129 yards and a score. Doug Baldwin quietly compiled 778 receiving yards this season, but his last three games have been very forgettable with three receptions for 38 yards. In four of his last five games TE Zach Miller has managed just a single reception, and over those five games he’s totaled a paltry 74 yards. Fellow TE Luke Willson hauled in three catches for 70 yards and a touchdown in Seattle’s last game against San Francisco.
WR Percy Harvin took a very hard hit, came back in the game, then took another hard hit and left with a concussion, he probably should not be cleared to play on Sunday. On the down side, the Seahawks offense sputtered dramatically without Harvin on the field.
Recent Trends to Consider and NFL Points Spreads:
49ers are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
49ers are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 road games.
49ers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. NFC West.
Seahawks are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
Seahawks are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games following a ATS loss.
Under is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.
Under is 3-1-1 in the last 5 meetings in Seattle.
Favorite is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 meetings.
Home team is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 meetings.
49ers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 meetings in Seattle.
49ers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 meetings.
San Francisco 49ers vs Seattle Seahawks
When: Sunday Jan 19@6:30 PM ET
Pick: Seahawks -3.5
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