The San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks will clash on Sunday night in the NFC Championship title game, with the winner set to take their place in Super Bowl 2014 in two week's time.
This is sure to be an explosive contest between two teams many will have predicted long ago would be here in the Conference title game. Tonight's big game will start at 6.30 p.m. ET and can be watched on TV on the Fox network.
Expect fireworks in this game; whenever these two teams faceoff things get very heated between the players, but this is the NFC Championship Game, and with a spot in the Super Bowl at stake, this game will carry a massively increased degree of tension that could well spill over.
As the season has gone, NFL teams have fallen one by one, but being eliminated just one game from the Super Bowl is arguably the toughest place to fall, and that is the prospect for one of the 49ers or Seahawks tonight. For one team at the end of today it will be ecstasy, where as for the other there will be tears and a very bitter pill to swallow watching their rivals take their place in the season climax.
The spotlight today will be very much on the quarterbacks, and Russell Wilson must have a good game if the Seahawks are to take the win today.
However, even though much of the chatter will be about Wilson and his opposite, Colin Kaepernick, for Seattle it has been their rock solid defense that has been the foundation for them making it here this season.
The Seahawks defense has been immense, allowing just 4.5 yards per play this season (including the Playoffs). Worryingly for the 49ers, the Seattle defense has only been getting better as the season has worn on. Early on some analysts were criticizing their defense against the run.
However, they have significantly improved in that department, and over their last three games they have allowed just 3 yards per rush attempt against them.
One area they will be hoping to improve today is in their pass offense. They have averaged just 5.1 yards per play in the air through the Playoffs, which is a big dip from their 7.6 yards during the regular season.
The 49ers will be hard to stop today. They come into this game on the back of 8 straight wins – including a victory over the Seahawks. They have also won two straight road games in the Playoffs for the first time in their franchise history to get here. Although they have not lit the NFL alight, they have the winning habit, and that is one of the hardest things to play against.
However, the 49ers don't often travel well to Seattle – in their last two visits to the Seahawks they have come up well short, losing 3-29 this season, and 13-42 last season.
Put simply, if the 49ers are to win this game they must win the game on their running game. If they can be efficient on the ground, and find holes in the Seattle defense then they will have a great chance.
The San Francisco 49ers vs the Seattle Seahawks will start at 6.30 p.m. ET and can be watched on TV on the Fox network.