This year, NBC is the broadcast home for Super Bowl XLIX, Sunday, February 1, 2015. This year’s Halftime Show will feature Katy Perry.
Perry is pretty. The San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks rivalry? Not so much.
This is the first of two match-ups between the two fierce NFC West rivals this season. Although both teams are not quite as good as they were at this point last year, both still have playoff aspirations.
Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers
Thursday, 8:30 p.m. Eastern on NBC
Levis Stadium, Santa Clara, California
2014 NFC Championship Game: Seahawks 23, 49ers 17, January 19, 2014, in Seattle, Washington
Last week, the Seahawks defeated the Cardinals 19-3 at home, and joined the Broncos as the only other team to defeat the Cardinals this season. For the third time this season, dual-threat quarterback Russell Wilson led the team in rushing yards with 73 yards. Marshawn Lynch had his second lowest rushing total of the season with just 39 yards on 15 carries (his lowest being 36 yards in Week 2 against San Diego).
The Seahawks have had their fair share of problems this season, but Richard Sherman and a cardboard cutout of Doug Baldwin standing up for teammate Lynch after being fined $100,000 by the NFL for not speaking to reporters proved that this locker room is far from fractured.
Wilson, whose passing statistics mirror the success he has had over the course of his first two years in the league, has already set a career-high in rushing yards with 644 through 11 games. Wilson has relied more on his legs this season because the organization let wide receiver Golden Tate leave in free agency (signed in Detroit) and traded Percy Harvin to the Jets several weeks ago for a conditional 2015 draft pick. He has an outside chance of eclipsing 1,000 rushing yards, and would be the first quarterback to do so since Michael Vick in 2006.
Scouting San Francisco
The 49ers are dealing with their own dysfunction – Jim Harbaugh’s future. Media reports prior to the season speculated this could be Harbaugh’s last season with the team. The biggest rumor is that Harbaugh would be let go after the season is over, and could wind up as the next head coach of the Michigan Wolverines due to his ties there.
After eight games, the 49ers were 4-4, calling Harbaugh’s job more into question.
The team responded by winning three straight games despite their pedestrian offense, which has scored 10 (against the Rams), 27 (in OT against the Saints), 16 (against the Giants) and 17 (against the Redskins) since their Week 8 bye. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick has eclipsed 300 yards passing only once this season – 343 against the Rams on Monday Night Football during Week 6 – but has only thrown six interceptions this season with half of them in that Week 2 28-20 loss to Chicago on Sunday Night Football.
Despite the unimpressive 17.5 points-per-game average, the defense has held up its end of the bargain. Opponents have been held to 16 points-per-game in the last four weeks. This season, the Seahawks defense has been the best in total yards, giving up just 296.8 per game. No. 2? The 49ers, of course, with 300.1 total yards-per-game.
It is also no surprise that each team is 2-2 in the regular season against each other (both being 2-0 at home). In the meantime, the Seahawks own the tie-breaker that ultimately matters. Expect a tight, one-score contest with a lot of trash-talking like only these two teams could provide.
In an upset, the Seahawks will prevail 20-16, holding Kaepernick under 200 total yards.