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Seattle Seahawks Battle the San Francisco 49ers for 2014 NFC Championship

The San Francisco 49ers visit Seattle to tackle the Seahawks in the National Football Conference’s Championship this coming Sunday, January 19 at Century Link Field. Kickoff is at 6:30pm ET, with the game being show nationally on the Fox Sports network.

The winner of the NFC Championship game will meet the winner of the AFC Championship game between the number one seeded Denver Broncos and the number two seed New England Patriots. The two winners will play Sunday, Feb 2nd in the National Football League’s Super Bowl XLVIII in New York, New York. It will also mark the very first ‘cold’ weather game to played outdoors in Super Bowl history.

Bookmakers see this game as a virtual toss-up, with the Hawks being made a 3-point favorite because of the home field advantage, while all expect the game to be very low scoring as the Total for this NFC Championship is set at 39.

On Sunday, the Niners and Hawks will be meeting as virtual mirror images of each other: both having very strong defences, strong running attacks (Niners’ Frank Gore and the Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch) and young athletic quarterbacks (Niners Colin Kaepernick and the Hawks Russell Wilson). And both are led by their coaches who both were in the Pac 10 just four years ago.

The 49ers are led by Jim Harbaugh, while the Seahawks have Pete Carroll leading the way. Both teams flat out hate each other, as do both coaches, who’ve both had personal run-ins with each other over the years, in both the Pac 10 and in the NFL.

Head to head this year, the two teams split the two games, each winning in their home parks. The Seahawks thumped the Niners 27-3 back in week 2, while the Niners squeaked out a 19-17 win just four weeks ago, the gaming winning field goal booted with less than a minute remaining in the game.

Both teams are both going into the game quite healthy, with the biggest name in question being Seattle Wideout Percy Harvin, who is listed as questionable because of the NFL-mandated concussion protocol, as Harvin missed the second half of last week’s game against the New Orleans Saints with a concussion.

San Francisco, the number 5 seed in the NFC, has made it to the big NFC game by virtue of a 12-4 regular season record, and road playoff wins over both Green Bay and Carolina. Seattle had a 13-3 regular season mark, giving it the number 1 seed in the NFC. Last week the Hawks squeezed by the visiting New Orleans Saints by a 23-15 count.

Green Bay Packers Will Win Its Forth Super Bowl Title

Most people don’t know this, but the “G” on the Packers helmet does NOT stand for Green Bay. It stands for Greatness.

Come this Sunday in Dallas, Texas in the House-that-Jerry-built, The Pack and its legion of Cheeseheads are going to be able to stand proud with their storied franchises’ fourth Super Bowl victory, this time over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Here are five reasons why:

Aaron Rodgers: the Green Bay quarterback is simply the hottest pivot in the NFL since the mid-way point of the season, and no defense can handle the fast balls that Rodgers has been throwing into the smallest of holes. Add to that the fact that Rodgers is deadly indoors, and I just can’t see the Pack scoring less than 30 points, which Big Ben Roethlisberger will not be able to match against the blitzkrieg that is the Packers defense.

Going Deep: Troy Polamalu and weak side safety Bryant McFadden will struggle at handling the deep balls that will be coming their way. Polamalu may be the defensive player of the year in the National Football League, but that is based on the first 14 weeks. Since he re-injured his Achilles tendon, he’s not been the same player, and you can see he’s just not been the impact player in both games vs the New York Jets and the Baltimore Ravens. McFadden is also banged up and will be seeing a lot of the big weak-side receiver James Jones.

Four and Five Wideout sets: With Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Jones and Jordy Nelson, the Packers have the ability to really stretch the Steelers defense, and take away their strength: stopping the run. You will see Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy go to the pass early and often, and forsake trying to run into the brick wall that is the Pittsburgh run D.

Steelers struggle against Elite QBs: twice this year, the Steelers have played elite quarterbacks: Tom Brady of the Patriots, and Drew Brees of New Orleans. They are 0-2 in those two games. Make no mistake about it, Rodgers is an elite pivot and will be able to read, and react, firing off bullets when the Steelers come blitzing with their two outstanding linebackers, James Harrison and Lemarr Woodley.

Steelers O-Line Struggles: starting center Mike Pouncey will not be playing, and both tackles are backups, with the Steelers losing its left tackle at the start of the year, and the other in November. The Packers will be able to get pressure without having to send more than five players, allowing them to take away many of the deep seam patterns that Roethisberger like to throw at, getting big chunks. The key is to bring down Big Ben when they can, as the 6’5”, 245lb quarterback is a load, and buys more time for his receivers to get open.

Final Score: Green Bay 30 Pittsburgh 24

Green Bay Packers Super Bowl History

Going back to the team’s first season in 1919, the Green Bay Packers have won 12 NFL championships (more than any other team in the NFL). Those championships include nine titles before the Super Bowl era and three Super Bowl wins.

Green Bay won the first three championships simply by finishing first in the league, in 1929, 1930 and 1931, and has won six since the NFL’s playoff system was established in 1933, but before the first Super Bowl in 1967 – in 1936, 1939, 1944, 1961, 1962, and 1965.

When Green Bay faces the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on Feb. 6 in Dallas, it will be the franchise’s fifth Super Bowl appearance. The Packers have won three of the four Super Bowls they’ve appeared in.

Fittingly, Green Bay won the first-ever Super Bowl when the legendary Vince Lombardi’s Packers beat Hank Stram’s Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 on Jan. 15, 1967. Interestingly, the game was played before a far-from sellout crowd, as 61,946 fans turned up at Los Angeles’ 100,000-seat Memorial Coliseum.

Green Bay’s next two Super Bowl wins came over the Oakland Raiders the next season in 1967, a 33-14 win, and against the New England Patriots in 1996, with Brett Favre leading the Packers to a 35-21 victory.

Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears: NFC Championship Game

They’ve been battling on the gridiron for 90 years and this Sunday the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears will clash once more, this time with the NFC Championship on the line.

This will be the 182nd meeting between the teams when the Packers and Bears collide at Soldier Field (3 pm ET, FOX).

Last Saturday, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers put on a passing clinic to lead the Packers to a 48-21 blow out win over the favored Atlanta Falcons 48-21 in an NFC divisional playoff game at the Georgia Dome. The Packers covered the 1–point spread as underdogs and the score went over the total of 44.

The Bears jumped out to a 28-0 lead over the Seattle Seahawks then had to hang on for a 35-24 win in the other NFC matchup. They covered the 10.5–point spread as favorites and the score went over the total of 43.5.

Head-to-head, Green Bay and Chicago are 5-5 SU and ATS in the past 10 meetings. They split the season series with Chicago winning the first meeting 20-17 on Sept. 27, and Green Bay winning the last meeting 10-3 in the season finale on Jan. 2.

Seattle Seahawks @ Chicago Bears: NFC Divisional Playoffs Sunday

While this one looks like it should be an easy win for the Bears, that is what everyone said last week when the huge underdog Seahawks tackled the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, winning by a 41-36 count.

Also, the Hawks defeated the Bears 23-20 back in October at Soldier Field. So anything is possible in this contest. Another advantage for Seattle is having a veteran quarterback in Matt Hasselbeck, who has also appeared in a Super Bowl. The Bears will have Jay Cutler behind center, who will be making his playoff debut. But the Bears have one of the best defences in football, while the Seahawks struggle against both the run and the pass, so this game could be a close win for the Bears or Seahawks, or a blowout for Chicago. Just don’t see a big Seattle win.

Seattle Seahawks (8-9) @ Chicago Bears (11-5)

NFC Divisional Playoffs Saturday: Green Bay Packers @ Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons edged the Green Bay Packers 20-17 at the Georgia Dome back in Week 12, but it was a game that the Packers gave notice they have a great chance of winning this game, even though they struggled with the running game on both sides of the ball. The Pack didn’t sustain much of a ground game back in this November game, while also struggling to contain the Falcons power running game, led by Michael Turner.

But the Packers are on a roll, led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is considered one of the best QBs in the game today. And Green Bay’s run defence has shown a marked improvement over the past few weeks and last week held the NFLs best run offence in check while gutting out a big win over the Philadelphia Eagles. But the Falcons also have a top, young QB in the tall, strong-armed Matt Ryan, and own the second best record in the NFL at 13-3, including 7-1 at home.

Green Bay Packers (11-6) @ Atlanta Falcons (13-3)

Green Bay Packers @ Philadelphia Eagles NFC Wildcard Sunday

Green Bay Packers @ Philadelphia Eagles NFC Wildcard Sunday: Make no doubt about it, this game boils down to one position: the quarterback. Both teams have high octane QBs, with the Packers led by big-armed Aaron Rodgers and the Eagles by the fleet-footed Michael Vick. Rodgers is as good as it gets at the pivot position, with only Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as his peers. However, Vick is such a wild card in this game, and is arguably the best athlete at the most important position in the game. He has rounded into a very accurate thrower and can take off and run for a first down in a blink of an eye, so the Packers top-ranked defense, led by Linebacker Clay Matthews, will not be able to just pin its ears back and attack.

On offence, the Packers have a throw-first mentality, and not many do it better than Rodgers, who tossed 28 touchdowns this year. In the only meeting between the two teams this year, the Pack won 27-20 in Philadelphia. However, Kevin Kolb started that game and struggled, as the Packers jumped out to a 20-3 lead. With Vick under the centre, the Eagles fought back and almost tied the game with the ball on the Green Bay half of the field in the final minute, but failed to convert on 4th and 1.

But ultimately, the whole game should boil down to Vick. If he is able to move around the pocket, buy some time, make a few first downs, and consistently hit his receivers down the field, it will make for a long day for the Green Bay defenders. This is something Vick has shown he can do. However, if Vick is static in the pocket, and is erratic with his throws, then the Pack will move on.

New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks Wildcard Weekend Game

New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks Wildcard Weekend Game: The Seattle Seahawks play host to this weekend’s initial Wild Card Weekend NFL playoff game with the ugly tag of having the worst record ever, as it hosts the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints.

In most people’s eyes, this game should just be mailed in, and the bookmakers agree, making the Drew Brees-led Saints an 11-point road favorite, which is simply unheard of in the bookmaking realm. Why is this?

One of the biggest reasons is the Quarterback position, as no one seems to know which QB is going to start. Is it the incumbent started, Matt Hasselbeck, or is it going to be Charlie Whitehurst, who guided the Seahawks to last weekend’s big win over the visiting St. Louis Rams to capture the NFC West title. If Hasselbeck is healthy, it gives Seattle a big boost, but if the Hawks have to go with Whitehurst, the team’s prospects look bleak.

We are also talking about the defending Super Bowl champs, who have Drew Brees leading the way at QB. However, the Saints have lost two of its last three games. Also, the Seahawks were 5-3 at home this year, and Qwest Field remains one of the toughest places for a visiting team to play. Also, the Saints have never won a road playoff game. Is this the year it begins?