There is always plenty of anticipation surrounding the NFC Championship Game, but with the San Francisco 49ers squaring off against the Seattle Seahawks for the third time this season, the excitement has grown exponentially.
These NFC West foes have met twice this season already—Seattle won the first game in Week 2 and San Francisco stole the second matchup in Week 14—but the fact that this rubber match will take place at CenturyLink Field could be the difference.
The home team has won each of the previous battles this season.
Here is all the vital viewing information, all the latest odds and spread, and a preview of Sunday’s title game.
Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash.
When: Sunday, Jan. 19, at 6:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go
|Seattle Seahawks||-3.5 (-105)||-183||Over 39 (-110)|
|San Francisco 49ers||+3.5 (-115)||+163||Under 39 (-110)|
San Francisco 49ers (12-4) at Seattle Seahawks (13-3)
The two remaining teams in the NFC are widely considered the two toughest franchises in the NFL. With Seattle and San Francisco boasting elite defensive units and run-first offenses, Sunday’s conference battle will be a hard-nosed, old-school football game.
There is no love lost between these two organizations, and the players are embracing it.
A battle. A brutal battle. It will be sparks, flames, you name it. It's going to be tough, and we know that. We have to go back to Santa Clara, look at film and correct some of the things that we need to correct from our last match.
Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin is ready for the matchup as well:
Wouldn't want it any other way...— Doug Baldwin Jr (@DougBaldwinJr) January 12, 2014
While much of the mainstream focus has been on the elite defenses of both franchises—each is ranked in the top five in every major statistical defensive category—the ultimate difference in this game will be which ground-heavy offense will find the most consistency.
The 49ers allowed an astonishing 172 yards rushing to Seattle in Week 2 but spent the rest of the season fixing its flaws and bounced back in Week 14 by allowing only 86 yards in the rematch.
Now the focus will turn to San Francisco’s ground attack.
Who ya got?
Add in the 263 combined yards the team has racked up on the ground against the Seahawks in the two previous meetings, and the advantage goes to the 49ers.
This will be a bitter battle, but San Francisco will beat Seattle in front of the 12th man using the consistency of its rushing attack.
Predicted Final Score: San Francisco 17, Seattle 13
*All stats via NFL.com.