Pete Carroll and his Seattle Seahawks host Jim Harbaugh and his San Francisco 49ers, Sunday Jan 19th, in the NFC Championship Game. The Niners have won three straight playoff road games, while the Seahawks have won six straight playoff home games and seven of their last eight at CenturyLink Field. Oddsmakers are favoring the Seahawks by -3.5 points over the Niners with the point total set at 39 points. The Seahawks are 16-1 SU and 12-5 ATS with Russell Wilson quarterbacking at home. Over the last two seasons, the Niners and Seahawks have split their four games, each team winning twice on its home field. But Seattle is 4-0 ATS over that span, because it won two blowouts at home and lost two close games in San Francisco.
The Niners beat the Packers in Green Bay on Wild Card Weekend and just knocked off Cam Newton and the Panthers in Carolina. QB Colin Kaepernick caught some flak earlier this year, but he’s been great lately, making good reads, making almost all of the throws and using his legs to pick up key first downs. He’s also thrown just two interceptions over this eight-game winning streak. For the season, the Niners have out-rushed opponents by 42 yards per game. They have shown that controlling the ball is a good way to win games.
Colin Kaepernick has been playing the best football of his career. Since Week 12 he has thrown 12 touchdown passes, garnered 1,818 yards passing, completed 59.7 percent of his passes and thrown two measly interceptions on 223 pass attempts. But, when the regular season concluded, the Seahawks had the league’s No. 1 pass defense and the most interceptions (28). Additionally, the Legion of Boom held opposing quarterbacks to 172 yards per game through the air and a quarterback rating of 63.4. In today’s NFL, figures like that are unheard of.
The Niners defense is playing at an unprecedented level right now, and the offensive side of the ball is firing on all cylinders. The Seahawks defense will have to do its part to slow down offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s offense, and QB Russell Wilson will have to step up to neutralize defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s defense. This game will be a dogfight between two evenly matched teams.
The Seahawks got a 23-15 victory over New Orleans in an NFC divisional-round game on Sunday and are now 26-9 over on two seasons. The Seahawks love playing in front of that 12th man. Seattle just ran for 174 yards against the Saints and, on the season, has averaged 137 yards per game on the ground. Add that to the No. 1-ranked defense in the league, and it’s easy to see how the Seahawks have gotten this far.
You can’t overlook Russell Wilson’s porous play that dates back to Week 14. Over the course of the last five games (playoffs included), Wilson’s averaging 6.55 yards per pass attempt, 157.6 yards passing and 19.8 yards on the ground per game. That’s a stark contrast in comparison to his first 12 games of the season.
Prior to Seattle’s Week 14 contest in San Francisco, Wilson averaged 222.6 yards passing per game, 8.79 yards per pass attempt and 1.8 touchdowns. Sure, the Seahawks’ wide receiving corps hasn’t offered him much help along the way. Nonetheless, it is his job as the team’s franchise quarterback to elevate his level of play.
In nine games at CenturyLink Field this season (playoffs included), the Seahawks DE’s Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and Chris Clemons amassed 10.5 quarterback sacks and five forced fumbles. San Francisco looked atrocious upfront in Week 2’s meeting. Their offensive line surrendered two quarterback sacks, two quarterback hits and 14 quarterback hurries. Clearly, Seattle’s vaunted pass rush is a whole different animal when it can get after the quarterback with a lead and the “12th Man” in its pocket.
Recent Trends to Consider along with NFL Playoff Odds:
Niners have won three straight playoff road games
Seahawks won six straight playoff home games
Seahawks have played five straight UNDERs when favored
Seahawks are 21-3 SU past 24 games as favorites
Under is 6-1 past seven Seahawks games vs. NFC West foes
49ers won five straight vs. NFC West foes (4-1 ATS)
Seattle is 8-2 ATS past 10 at home to San Francisco
San Francisco 49ers vs Seattle Seahawks
When: Sunday Jan 19@6:30 PM ET
Pick: Niners +3.5
The Bottom Line: I’m predicting a Seattle victory but a San Francisco cover. Sunday’s game probably won’t be a blowout, and I’m going with a field goal for the Seahawks. We recommend you signup with Bovada to receive a 10% signup bonus heading into the NFC Championship final.