This Sunday, the fate of the National Football Conference (NFC) Championship will be decided when the 49ers and Seahawks face off for the third time this season and for the second time in Seattle. This is a big deal. If not because the winner goes to the Super Bowl, then because these two teams, arguably the most complete pair in the National Football League (NFL), hate each other—and their fans hate each other. Basically, the game is going to be epic and here’s why.
A TALE OF TWO QUARTERBACKS
Both teams boast what they would call, “franchise quarterbacks.” Colin Kaepernick of San Francisco, basically a giant human cyborg at 6’4” 230lb., is an incredibly dynamic quarterback (QB). He flourishes behind a tremendous offensive line, and can do damage on the ground when forced to run. However, two of Kaepernick’s worst games have taken place at CenturyLink, and it will be interesting to see how he responds to the crowd noise. The Seahawks have a QB of their own, and he’s no joke. Russel Wilson couldn’t look much different than Kaepernick, listed at a 5’11” and a generous 205 lb. Wilson is small and scrambles very effectively, but needs to settle down in the pocket in order to make accurate throws. Wilson has struggled of late, however he will have to deliver a strong performance on Sunday if he wishers to take on San Francisco’s defense.
POWER VS. POWER
Defense is what defines both teams. San Francisco has one of the strongest, most effective front seven in the game, and a backfield that remains terrifying. Those who watched last Sunday’s game know how powerful this group is, given that they made two impressive goal line stops, five sacks and two interceptions. Typified in linebacker Patrick Willis, the San Francisco defense is an aggressive force, and Seattle will be hard pressed to get a running game going early on. Still, Seattle’s defense is arguably the most potent in football, and at home there is no argument. Characterized by their charismatic cornerback Richard Sherman, the Hawks tout a stocked unit that can defend both the pass and run, and put the fear of God into basically any team that can’t score before the end of the first half.
THEY’RE NOT HUMAN
Running-backs Frank Gore and Marshawn Lynch share a few things. One, they’re both premiere running-backs in the NFL; and two, I’m pretty sure neither one of them is of this earth. Frank Gore of San Francisco has been a constant for in San Francisco since 2005 when he first joined the team. However, Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch matches him in talent. Lynch, among the scarier looking players in the NFL, and most entertaining personalities (look up his YouTube videos from college). While he tends to be streaky, he has always maintained a beast ability to step up his game in big moments. Look for some impossible looking physicality from both players. Normally, I would say that Gore would be more likely to deliver a strong performance however, with Lynch running at home, in a playoff game, look for a special performance from him.
#NINERGANG VS. #12THMAN
The battle of these two massively exciting teams is matched, if not superceded by the battle of their fans. San Francisco’s fans are among the most loyal in the game, and share no love for their northern NFC brothers. Seattle’s fans are no different—with the famous 12th Man occupying the loudest stadium in football. Because both teams are so potent, their games are often decided by the intensity of their fans; to wit, their regular season matchups were split, with Seattle taking the game in their house, and the ‘Niners took the other. The rivalry is so strong, that ticket sales are being prohibited to California residents, with Seattle trying to keep Seahawks fans in the stadium and keep ‘Niner fans out. While San Francisco is the hotter team—having won eight in a row and the last three on the road—they will be tested on this last trip to Seattle, given that Seattle seems almost invincible when playing at CenturyLink.
Even if you don’t care about football, you should care about the NFC title game. If all else fails, think of the parties bound to crop up if Seattle wins its way to a Superbowl game!