The Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers are set to play for the third time this season as they prepare for the NFC Conference Championship, but there's still enough time before the game to get in some last-minute predictions.
They split the series this year, with each team winning at home. This matchup will be played in Seattle, and the crowd is sure to be as loud as ever. This could be the biggest game ever played at CenturyLink Field.
With the game almost set to be played, let's take a look at some predictions for the NFC Championship Game between these two NFC West teams.
Marshawn Lynch Will Put Up at Least 125 Total Yards and One Touchdown
Marshawn Lynch has turned into one of the best running backs in the NFL over the past few seasons, but he seems to take his game to a different level against the 49ers. As you can see below, he's been a serious problem for San Francisco's defense over the past two seasons.
|Marshawn Lynch vs. 49ers 2012 and 2013|
|Date||Rush Att||Yds||Avg||Rec||Yds||Total TD|
|Highlighted games were played in Seattle|
One of the concerns entering the postseason was whether or not Lynch could stay productive after carrying the ball 301 times during the regular season. He put those worries to rest when he ran for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries against a solid New Orleans Saints defense.
Including the playoffs, he has rushed for 1,397 yards and 14 touchdowns, which makes him one of the most productive running backs on the season. According to Pete Damilatis from Pro Football Focus, Lynch has already forced 88 missed tackles this year, which is a PFF record for most in a season.
While the 49ers did rank fourth in run defense this year, allowing just 95.9 yards per game on the ground, they tend to struggle against Lynch. Expect some big things from the 27-year-old running back in this one, and that will fire up the home crowd.
Colin Kaepernick Will Have His Best Career Game Against Seattle
While Lynch tends to succeed against San Francisco, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has pretty much been the opposite. Just take a look at his three career games against the Seahawks; they're quite different from what he's done for his career:
|Colin Kaepernick vs. Seahawks|
|Highlighted games played in Seattle|
Those three games have been some of the worst performances of his short pro career. He has trouble against the Seahawks, which makes sense considering they have one of the best defenses in the league, especially against the pass.
But this time should be different. Kaepernick has all of his weapons back, which was a big reason for the team's success in their last meeting, which the 49ers won 19-17. The return of Michael Crabtree has been huge, as he's opened up the field for Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin.
Don't expect Kaepernick to throw for 300 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions, but look for him to play his best career game against Seattle.
Russell Wilson Will Lead the Seahawks on a Game-Winning Drive
These two teams are familiar with each other, which will make it so much harder for either side to pull away. Not only will this one come down to the wire, but quarterback Russell Wilson will lead the Seahawks down the field for a game-winning drive to take them to the Super Bowl.
Andrew Luck gets all the credit among the sophomore quarterbacks for leading so many game-winning drives, but Wilson has quite a few of his own. According to Pro Football Reference, he has nine game-winning drives and seven fourth-quarter comebacks in just two years.
He has the tools to lead his team down the field, even against the 49ers and their stingy defense. Home-field advantage will also be a big help, as he's only lost one game at CenturyLink Field in his short career while throwing for 31 touchdowns and just seven interceptions for a 112.8 passer rating.
This will be a close one, but Wilson will show that he's already one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL by leading his team to the Super Bowl.