49ers vs. Seahawks. That has a nice ring to it, like Ali vs. Frazier, Louis vs. Schmeling, communism vs. capitalism, Joan Crawford vs. Bette Davis or George vs. Martha.
Two or three years ago this matchup would have been an afterthought, a clear example of the inferiority of the NFC West. Not anymore.
When these two teams collide Sunday night on NBC at 5:20 PST, the impact will be measured by Richter scales as far away as Ittoqqortoormiit or the Solomon Islands. This is a heavyweight matchup of the highest degree and marks the biggest game ever in the short history of this budding rivalry.
The league's best two defenses square off against perhaps the two most physical runners in the NFL. Two of the best young quarterbacks in the league will be looking to outduel each other while another chapter in the Harbaugh/Carroll rivalry unfolds. This isn't going to be a football game; this is going to be a knife fight in a telephone booth between two rabies-infested wolverines.
The 49ers have already locked up a playoff spot, but nothing else. Seattle hasn't locked up anything yet, but a victory would clinch at least a wild-card berth and give them a chance to still win the division.
The 49ers are looking to strengthen their grip on the second seed in the playoffs and a first-round bye while the Seahawks are looking to build even more momentum for the playoffs with another lopsided victory. This could very well be a preview of the NFC Championship Game this January as well. This is what football in December is all about.
The weather forecast in Seattle calls for a 60 percent chance of rain with light winds from the southeast and a temperature dipping into the 30s by the 5:20 pm (Pacific Standard Time) kickoff.
The median blood-alcohol level of the crowd will be about .25 and the stadium will be rocking louder than a Led Zeppelin concert.
Make sure your prescriptions are filled, stock up on canned goods and candles, verify your blood type, warm up your defibrillators and board your windows because this is going to be a doozy.