NFC Championship Preview – 49ers Versus Seahawks

Below is the official NFL media release for the NFC Championship game:

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (14-4) at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (14-3) (Sunday, FOX, 6:30 PM ET)

For the third time this season, the 49ers and Seahawks will meet. The teams split the regular-season series with each club winning at home.

“I think it’s the best rivalry in football right now,” says FOX analyst Troy Aikman about 49ers-Seahawks.

The 49ers advanced to their 15th NFC Championship Game, tying Pittsburgh for the most since 1970. Jim Harbaugh has guided the team to the NFC Championship Game in each of his first three seasons, the only head coach since the 1970 merger to accomplish the feat.

At Carolina in the Divisional round, San Francisco scored 17 unanswered points in the team’s 23-10 victory. The 49ers’ defense did not allow a point in the second half. Now the team hopes to carry the momentum into Seattle, where the Seahawks have won the past two meetings by a combined score of 71-16.

“We’re ready to go,” says 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is 4-1 in his postseason career. “We’re a different team than the last time we played them up there.”

Last week, wide receiver Anquan Boldin had eight catches for 136 yards and Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore rushed for 84 yards. Pro Bowl linebacker Ahmad Brooks had 2.5 sacks and has 4.5 sacks in the 2013 playoffs, tied for the most sacks by a 49er in a single postseason.

The No. 1 seeded Seahawks advanced to their second NFC Championship Game with a 23-15 win over New Orleans. Seattle is 1-0 in NFC Championship Games, advancing to Super Bowl XL in the 2005 season.

“To be in the NFC Championship Game, it means a lot,” says Seattle Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson. “It’s a testament to our hard work and preparation as a whole. The thing for us is that we haven’t done anything yet. We have to stay focused and play the best football that we can play.”

In the team’s Divisional win over New Orleans, Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch rushed for a franchise postseason-record 140 yards and scored two touchdowns. In five career playoff games, Lynch has rushed for five touchdowns and has three 100-yard games.

“Marshawn battles every week and when you give him chances, he makes play,” says Seattle head coach Pete Carroll about Lynch. “He just continues to crank it out for us.”

The Seattle defense, which led the NFL in points allowed (231), total defense (273.6 yards per game) and pass defense (172.0) during the regular season, limited the Saints to 15 points. Defensive end Michael Bennett had two forced fumbles, a recovery and combined with defensive end Cliff Avril for a sack. Pro Bowl safety Kam Chancellor led the team with 14 tackles and tied with Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas for the club lead with two passes defensed.

The Seahawks have won six consecutive postseason home games and are 16-1 at CenturyLink Field over the past two seasons.

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