NFC Conference Championship: The Gold Rush in Seattle

49ERSSEAHAWKS

The San Francisco 49ers are about to play at CenturyLink Field against the Seattle Seahawks with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. The Seahawks, who are unbeaten at home besides the Cardinals game, have a huge advantage with the 12th man. Colin Kaepernick has started in Seattle twice and has done miserable each time. This game could very well go the same way, but on paper it looks like it is going to be a great game.

Last week Cam Newton and Drew Brees were handled with almost no problems by these teams. The defenses are immaculate. Inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman, cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Earl Thomas were all First Team All-Pro. Three others, defensive tackle Justin Smith, outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks and safety Kam Chancellor were on the second team.

Both teams have very solid running games. Frank Gore of the 49ers ran for 1,128 yards this season and scored nine rushing touchdowns. He had nine runs of twenty yards or more which was second in the NFL. Gore is a pro bowler this season. Marshawn Lynch of the Seahawks also made the Pro Bowl. Lynch ran the ball for 1,257 yards and he scored twelve rushing touchdowns which led the league.

Neither quarterback was a first round draft pick, but both Kaepernick and Russell Wilson beat the odds to become starters. Kaepernick didn’t finish in the top ten in pass yards or passing touchdowns, but he finished tenth in quarterback rating with a rating of 91.6. Wilson finished seventh with a 101.2 quarterback ranking. He also finished tenth in the league with 26 passing touchdowns.

Last week Percy Harvin looked pretty good. This week he is out because of the concussion he suffered last week. Hopefully he will be healthy if the Seahawks make the Super Bowl.

The 49ers have quite a weapon in tight end Vernon Davis. Davis had 52 catches for 850 yards and 13 touchdowns. His 16.3 yards per catch was eighth best in the league.

The 49ers have some of the best special teams in all of football. Punter Andy Lee averaged 48.2 yards per punt while Phil Dawson made 32 field goals. Dawson has played in bad weather his whole career, coming from Cleveland. I think he will be well prepared. LaMichael James averaged 10.9 yards per punt return which was tenth best in the league.

The Seahawks’ kicker is Steven Hauschka who made 35 field goals and had a 94.3% field goal percentage. Golden Tate had 585 total punt return yards for an average of 11.5 per return which was slightly better than James numbers.

Even the coaches and coordinators are great. Greg Roman and Vic Fangio, the offensive and defensive coordinators for the 49ers as well as Darrell Bevell and Dan Quinn, the Seahawks coordinators, are all top head coaching candidates for this year and next year.

I think Richard Sherman and the Seahawks secondary will dominate and win this game 28-13.


You can follow Thomas Frey on Twitter: @ThomasFreyRP

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