With two teams remaining in the NFC, it will be the San Francisco 49ers (14-4) and Seattle Seahawks (14-3) battling it out, as these two NFC West foes face each other for the third time this season. A game that has huge implications, as the winner will be moving on to the Super Bowl, while the loser watches from home, you can be sure this will be a blood bath down in the trenches. Two teams that have built a heated rivalry similar to the one between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, the question remains how these two teams will fare against one another. With football being about match-ups, the one to watch will be between the 49ers’ receivers verse the Seahawks “Legion of Boom.”
A Seahawks secondary that ranks No. 1 in the NFL, as they only allow 172.0 yards through the air, it will be up to players such as WR Anquan Boldin and WR Michael Crabtree to help QB Colin Kaepernick out. In two meetings this year, Boldin and Crabtree have combined for 11 catches for 140 yards. And despite Crabtree missing their Week 2 match-up at CenturyLink Field, that type of production will not be enough to win, as the 49ers need touchdowns not field-goals.
However, with the Niners NFC Championship crown on the line as well as their Super Bowl run, the 49ers have looked like a more polished offense as of late. A team that is clicking on all cylinders while riding the momentum as the NFL’s hottest team, with an eight-game winning streak, Kaepernick is poised to find the open receivers in the game’s most crucial moments and Sunday should be no different.
In two meetings this season, Kaepernick has completed 28 of 57 for 302 passing yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. A stat line that would raise some serious eyebrows but one in which I believe Kaepernick will bounce back from. A team that has a plethora of offensive weapons, Kaepernick has the “pick your poison” mentality when his receivers are matched up one-on-one.
Crabtree has fresh legs for the post-season run due to the simple fact that he missed 11 games as he recovered from a torn achilles. And while some may believe he is rusty, I can assure he’s not as Crabtree has hauled in 30 catches for 435 yards and one touchdown in seven games (including playoffs). A player with great hands with the ability to stretch the field for a 40-yard catch-and-run at the drop of a dime, Crabtree will be instrumental as he goes up against the likes of CB Richard Sherman and physical CB Byron Maxwell.
And if Crabtree is unable to create a mismatch than Boldin will. A player that continues to be the most reliable, sure-handed, and No. 1 security blanket fo Kaepernick, Boldin will be making his presence known. A physical, aggressive, and strong willed receiver, Boldin should create havoc for Sherman. Two players that love to talk the talk but also walk the walk, do not be surprised if these two heavyweights jar at each other after every play. A player specifically brought in to end the 49ers Quest For Six, Boldin will be looking to make a living as he finds soft spots in zone coverage.
A game that will likely be filled with great highlights from both sides of the ball, watch as you see Boldin and Crabtree hold their own, as I predict Boldin to have a stat line around nine catches for 115 yards and one touchdown, while Crabtree works the underneath routes with six catches for 65 yards and one touchdown.
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