The Seattle Seahawks have been one of the best teams in the NFL all season long, securing the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the NFC Playoffs. They used that home-field advantage well in the NFC Divisional Playoffs to hold off the New Orleans Saints 23-15 and set up a showdown with the divisional rival San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. After splitting the season series with San Francisco, Seattle will need more out of Russell Wilson and the passing game to continue their home dominance against the Niners and punch their ticket to the Meadowlands February 2.
For the first three quarters of the season, Wilson was having a phenomenal season. He was averaging 222.7 yards per game through the air with 22 touchdowns to just six interceptions as he provided the spark that Seattle needed to win some big games early in the season, including a couple of wild second-half rallies. But down the stretch, Wilson has been struggling to throw the ball effectively. In his last five games, including the playoff win against New Orleans, Wilson has averaged just 157.6 yards per game with four touchdowns and three interceptions despite averaging close to the same number of passing attempts per game (25.4 in first 12, 24 in last five).
But snapping out of slump may not be that easy against the San Francisco defense. In the two games against the Niners this season, Wilson has completed 23-of-44 passes (52 percent) for 341 yards (170.5 per game) with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The physical San Francisco defense has given Wilson some trouble this season and the Niners’ defensive front is athletic enough to chase down the elusive Seattle quarterback and create sacks and turnovers. Wilson has to find some room to make plays and then create something to loosen up the San Francisco run defense for Marshawn Lynch.
It should be another physical contest between Seattle and San Francisco as the two NFC West rivals square off for round three this season. While both sides will try and assert their will using the running game, Seattle needs to get more out of Russell Wilson and the passing game to win the NFC Championship and play for a Super Bowl.