At the startof the season, if you asked most pundits who the top two teams in each conference were, you were likely to get some combination of the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, and New England Patriots. Lo and behold, with only 4 teams left that’s exactly who we have left. The Seahawks vs 49ers game is a real West Coast turf war with sports god coach Pete Carroll and his Beast Mode squad out for blood.
How we got here:
The Seattle Seahawks rode a nearly perfect home record, stifling defense and the zen-like approach of their QB to the NFC’s top seed this season. They then continued their roll into the playoffs shutting down nearly every team they played, looking like the class of the league from nearly Day One. San Fran took a different route, seemingly reestablishing their identity as the season went on after some shaky starts from Colin Kaepernick. As the end of the season approached and key cogs like Michael Crabtree returned so did this unit’s championship swagger.
- The new age of QB excellence:
Wilson and Kaepernick couldn’t be more different personality wise, with the pious, soft spoken, coach-on-the-field Wilson lining up under center for Seattle versus the brash, outspoken, and tattooed Kaepernick taking snaps for the 49ers. What makes them similar is their on-field approach though. Both QB’s give opposing defensive coordinators nightmares with their MLB arm strength, coupled with elite foot-speed. Whichever team can contain the other’s scrambles best looks like a good bet to win this game.
- The Legion of Boom:
Led by their intentionally incendiary, motor-mouthed hype man, Richard Sherman, the Seattle secondary is second to none, with a brotherhood mentality, confidence, and a physicality lacking in other units, this group is going to be tasked with covering the playoff dynamo Anquan Bouldin, the freakishly athletic Vernon Davis, and the resurgent Crabtree. And you know what? They wouldn’t have it any other way.
- Familiarity breeds a lot more than contempt:
This game will feature at least one scuffle that leads to officials and/or coaches having to pull players apart. Bank on it. While Manning-Brady is seen as a great rivalry, the Seahawks-49ers beef is evolving into a Blood Feud, these teams play twice a year with their coaches exchanging barbs off the field and their players trading big hits on it. This game will be played with a lot of emotion and what will be interesting is how the officials choose to handle a game where tensions will be running high as soon as pregame warm-ups.
Here is your obligatory 12th Man reference, Seattle coach Pete Caroll, after losing last year and seeing his rival Jim Harbaugh hoist the NFC title, told his team immediately, “And that’s why we need home field advantage.” Now that they have it look for Seattle to dole out a heaping helping of Beast Mode with Lynch and the ever present Sherman to get an interception that swings the game. This will be a slobberknocker and while both teams are suited for it, Seattle has the look of a team with more to play for.
Seattle 24, San Fran 21
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