Last year, the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers were the two best teams in the NFL. The rivalry built to a crescendo with the Seahawks beating the 49ers in the NFC title game, going to the Super Bowl and earning the franchise's first championship. Fast forward 10 months, and Seattle is surging toward another postseason run while San Francisco is on a path to oblivion.
The 49ers have been in the NFC Championship Game three consecutive years under head coach Jim Harbaugh, but that streak will end in 2014. San Francisco is all but certain to miss the playoffs and reports have been rampant that Harbaugh will be replaced at season's end.
The problems extend to quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was given a massive $126 million contract extension this offseason. Kaepernick has been mediocre at best this season, completing just 60.6 percent of his passes for 2,910 yards, 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The 49ers will likely stick with Kaepernick going forward but the team is expected to have a much different look in 2015.
Seattle was on the outside of the playoff picture at 6-4, but since has reeled off three straight wins over the Arizona Cardinals, 49ers, and Philadelphia Eagles. With a win over San Francisco this week, the Seahawks would put themselves into a position to play for first place in the NFC West next Sunday against Arizona.
Seattle has relied on the same formula that won it the Lombardi Trophy last year; defense and a punishing ground attack. The Seahawks rank first in total defense once again and have the most potent rushing game behind Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson. Lynch has run for 1,042 yards and nine touchdowns while Wilson has added 727 yards, mostly on read-option plays.
How to Watch
Where: CetnuryLink Field, Seattle, Wa.
When: 4:05 p.m. ET
Announcers: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
For more on the 49ers, check out Niners Nation.
To keep up with the Seahawks, head over to Field Gulls.