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NFL Betting: 49ers vs. Seahawks Preview

NFL Betting: 49ers vs. Seahawks Preview

Posted by Stan Jenkins on 1/13/2014 8:57:50 PM

The NFC Championship Game is the third matchup of the season between the two best teams in the NFC West, the two teams that are so similar to each other and yet can’t stand each other at the same time. The 49ers and Seahawks are both guided by successful coaches who made a name for themselves in the Pac-12 Conference before coming to the NFL. They both reside on the West Coast. They both have young quarterbacks who can run and who use read-option plays at times. They both play nasty defense and are inclined to do a lot of trash talking. Get ready for a very physical and punishing evening of football on Sunday in Seattle.

NFC Championship Game

San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks

Odds: Seahawks -3

Total: 39

The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks hate each other, but they’re the same team in many ways. San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh established his credentials as a head coach at Stanford, but as soon as he made the Cardinal a top-level team in college football, he jumped to the pros and has promptly been able to succeed. Harbaugh has become the first coach in the NFL’s Super Bowl era (since the 1966 season) to reach the conference championship game in each of his first three seasons. That’s a fairly extraordinary accomplishment, one that makes Harbaugh an elite coach in the sport. Aside from New England head coach Bill Belichick, it’s hard to identify a coach who has done a better job over the past three seasons than Harbaugh, whose only other competition might come from his brother, John, who led the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl a season ago and an AFC Championship Game appearance two seasons ago.

Seattle has its own head coach with Pac-12 roots and a penchant for remaking struggling teams into powerhouses. Pete Carroll took a dormant USC program in 2001 and molded it into a runaway winner, capturing four Rose Bowl wins and two Orange Bowl wins before NCAA violations caused him to bolt for the NFL following the 2009 season.

Carroll was not expected by many NFL observers to find success in the league. His rah-rah approach seemed to some NFL pundits to be a bad fit for professional football, but Carroll has figured out how to relate to the modern athlete. He and general manager John Schneider have presided over the remaking of the Seahawks into one of the best and most stable organizations in football. Seattle is positioned to enjoy long-term success, given that it has a young defense and a second-year quarterback that is on the way to becoming a superstar in the NFL.

How will these coaches attack each other? The 49ers and Seahawks like to run the ball, but their quarterbacks also like to run and will become important weapons in this game. How each offense decides to attack the defense will become extremely significant in deciding the outcome.

Prediction

It’s hard to bet against Seattle at home, but San Francisco has better receivers than Seattle, especially since the Seahawks’ big offseason acquisition, Percy Harvin, was concussed against the New Orleans Saints last week and probably won’t be at his best… if he’s even cleared to play in the first place. San Francisco will find a little more offense than Seattle and return to the Super Bowl.

Pick: 49ers +3

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