NFC Championship 2014 picks and predictions: 49ers vs. Seahawks

Seattle has a significant advantage playing at home, but not all NFL experts think the Seahawks will win the NFC.

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During the regular season, Seattle home games were among the easiest in the NFL to predict. The Seahawks so rarely lost at home that it almost became automatic to pick them to win, regardless of the opponent. However, Arizona did manage to beat the Seahawks at home late in the season, and the 49ers will attempt to repeat that performance on Sunday in the NFC Championship.

While the loss to Arizona proves it can be done, it still isn't easy. Seattle has won 16 of 17 home games with Russell Wilson under center, including its win against New Orleans last week. Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers know firsthand how hard it can be to win in Seattle. San Francisco has been an excellent road team in recent seasons, and it's 14-5 on the road since the start of 2012, including the playoffs. Two of those losses, however, are against Seattle. The 49ers lost 29-3 in Seattle this season, and 42-13 at CenturyLink Field last season.

History may not be on the 49ers' side, and the fans certainly won't be, but that doesn't mean Seattle is a lock to win. Seattle didn't play its best football in the final stretch, losing two of its last four regular season games. Additionally, quarterback Russell Wilson hasn't been as effective recently as he was early in the season. That opens the door for the 49ers, and two of SB Nation's NFL experts think the 49ers will take advantage. David Fucillo and Stephen White both predicted the 49ers will win on Sunday. The other four experts picked Seattle.

Game Ryan Van Bibber Joel Thorman Jason Chilton Stephen White David Fucillo Matt Ufford
Seahawks vs. 49ers Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks 49ers 49ers Seahawks

They weren't the only ones picking San Francisco. While six of the CBS Sports' NFL analysts picked Seattle, two went with San Francisco. That included John Breech, who picked the 49ers to win the Super Bowl before the season. Breech pointed to the two teams' recent level of play as one of the deciding factors:

The argument against picking the 49ers is simple: they've been outscored 71-16 in their last two trips to Seattle. My argument for the 49ers is that they're the hottest team in football and in recent years, the hottest team has been winning the biggest playoff games.

Back in August, I predicted the Seahawks would win the NFC West and that the 49ers would win the Super Bowl because I thought San Francisco could get hot and go into Seattle and steal a win. Well, the 49ers are the hottest team in football with eight wins in a row and I see no reason to go against my Super Bowl pick now. 49ers 20-16 over the Seahawks.

Breech correctly predicted both of San Francisco's playoff wins thus far, but was wrong in picking New Orleans to beat Seattle last week.

Although six of CBS Sports' eight analysts picked Seattle, most expect a very close game. When picking the game against the spread, only one of the eight picked Seattle to cover as the 3.5-point favorite.

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