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Experts Predict Outcome of 49ers-Seahawks Game

Posted Jan 17, 2014

49ers.com compiled the picks of NFL experts in advance of Sunday's game in Seattle.

Who ya got?

As we approach the 49ers-Seahawks NFC title game, that is the question.

Read the experts' picks, then provide your own answer in our comment section.

Peter King of The Monday Morning Quarterback: Seattle.

This game is going to be decided by two running backs: Frank Gore of the 49ers and Marshawn Lynch of the Seahawks... Who wins this running game is going to win this game. I'm sticking with Seattle, thinking that Marshawn Lynch, a very loud stadium and a fast defense is going to be enough to stop the 49ers, as the Seahawks have done the last two times at CenturyLink Field.

Elliott Harrison of NFL.com: San Francisco 24, Seattle 20

Earlier in the season, you heard grumblings about the 49ers' defense not being what it used to be. Well, I think that unit wins this game for San Francisco (along with the Niners' receivers). Vic Fangio's group allowed 10 points to the Panthers, 20 to Aaron Rodgers and 20 to a hot Cardinals team before that ... all on the road. In fact, San Francisco hasn't given up more than 24 since Week 3. The Seahawks' offense will have to lean heavily on Wilson's ability to make plays with his feet, which he'll find much tougher to do this week than last week against the Saints. I've been picking the Seahawks to beat the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII since last spring, but I'm honoring updated football intuition here.

Chris Wesseling of NFL.com: Seattle 20, San Francisco 17

These two NFC West superpowers have been mirror images of each other since Harbaugh began roaming the sideline opposite Carroll. This game matches the only two teams in the NFL that rushed the ball on over 50.0 percent of their offensive plays this season. Both teams boast hard-hitting, swarming defenses complemented by ball-control offenses. Recent matchup history suggests theSeahawks have the 49ers' number. Momentum suggests the 49ers are the slightly better team. In a tight game, I believe the difference could come down to Seattle's penchant for forcing game-changing turnovers at a raucous CenturyLink Field.

Bill Williamson of ESPN.com: Seattle 24, San Francisco 20

If these two teams played in the Super Bowl in two weeks, I'd take the 49ers. I'd also take the 49ers over Denver and New England in the Super Bowl, but the reality is the 49ers are playing the Seahawks in Seattle. Again, I just can't get Week 2 out of my head. The 49ers offense struggled with the loud noise. I think it will be much closer this time, but, in the end, the crowd noise will be the difference. 

Terry Blount of ESPN.com: Seattle 20, San Francisco 17

Other than gladiators battling in the Colosseum, it doesn't get more physical than this one will be on Sunday. Both teams get in your face and test your toughness. Add in the genuine dislike between these two teams and you've got quite a game to watch. They are pretty evenly matched, but I see the home-field advantage being the difference in the end. 

Vinnie Iyer of The Sporting News: Seattle 20, San Francisco 17

The teams are both stingy against the run, but Marshawn Lynch has enjoyed great recent success against the 49ers. He got warmed up against the Saints to power through, and he provides a little more pop than Frank Gore, especially behind a healthy Seahawks line. The energy Seattle has at home is more than your typical X-factor, and it also wins in an exceptional battle of special teams.Jim Harbaugh has won the most rounds from Pete Carroll since their Pac-12 days, but in the Pacific Northwest, the Seahawks will use their homefield advantage to get to Super Bowl XLVIII.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com: Seattle 21, San Francisco 20

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks -- These two teams split their regular-season games, with each winning at home. In Week 2, in a game played in Seattle, the Seahawks dominated from start to finish in a 29-3 victory, while San Francisco won 19-17 in Week 14. The Seahawks did a great job defending the 49ers' offense in the first meeting. But the 49ers didn't have Michael Crabtree in that game and they are better now with him to go with Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis. The Seattle offense has struggled down the stretch, especially throwing the football. Russell Wilson threw for 103 yards last week and Seattle still won. In two games against the 49ers, he has combined to throw for 341 yards. He was sacked six times. But Colin Kaepernick has only thrown for a combined 302 yards in the two games against Seattle. So don't expect a big passing game from either one here. Kaepernick has played better in the two postseason victories for the 49ers, so he might be rolling a bit. Both teams have had issues protecting the quarterback this season, which could play into this being a turnover game. Pass rush leads to turnovers. The Seahawks were last in sacks per pass play, while San Francisco was 29th. That could mean loads of hits on the two quarterbacks, or at least they will be running to avoid them. In the end, this is a close game. But I think Wilson will find a way to make a throw late outside the pocket to set up the Seahawks for game-winning field goal. Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl.

Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk: Seattle 14, San Francisco 6

The 49ers are playing better football now than they were back in Week Two, when the Seahawks blew them out in Seattle, and the 49ers beat the Seahawks in Week 14. And yet I can’t get past the fact that the 49ers have looked absolutely terrible in Seattle, losing there 29-3 in 2013 and 42-13 in 2012. The combination of a great Seahawks pass defense and a loud crowd in Seattle is going to make life miserable for Colin Kaepernick, which means San Francisco’s best chance is to win a low-scoring game. The 49ers’ defense is tough and physical, and they may be able to keep the score down. But not down far enough. WithMarshawn Lynch leading the way, the Seahawks’ running game will sustain a couple of long drives, and that will be enough to secure a trip to the Super Bowl.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk: Seattle 27, San Francisco 17

Destiny awaits one of these teams.  And I’m destined to get make the wrong pick.  Family members know it; my kid suggested last night that I pick the 49ers, because he wants the Seahawks to win.  Even though the Seahawks haveblown out, sir the Niners during their last two games in Seattle, the 49ers have the feel of a team that understands the difference between the regular season and the postseason — and that can rise to the occasion.  So I’m very, very, very tempted to pick San Francisco to return to the Super Bowl, and possibly to become the first team since the 1972 Dolphins to win the Super Bowl a year after losing it. But the Seahawks have the offense and the defense and the motivation to qualify for a cross-country trip for a shot at their first-ever NFL title.  Marshawn Lynch moves the chains, the 12th Man moves the earth, and Russell Wilson’s steady hand doesn’t move at all no matter the pressure or attention.  Throw in a defense that can neutralize the 49ers’ weapons, and I’m picking the home team to hold serve.

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