The NFC West is home to one of the best rivalries in the NFL, the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks. These two teams are the best in the division, and by seasons end may prove to be two of the best teams in the NFL. This rivalry has shaped up heavily over the last three years with each team vying for the title. The battles have been ferocious and the games always a must-see. In 2010, the Seahawks took the NFC West division title. In 2011 and 2012, the 49ers were the victors. This season, the rivalry continues with two much-anticipated games on September 15 in Seattle and again on December 8 in San Francisco.
The first game is at CenturyLink Field, the home of the Seahawks and one of the toughest stadiums to play in. The noise level is deafening and the Seahawks have proven nearly unbeatable at home. Last season, the Seahawks destroyed the 49ers by a score of 42-13. The second game of the season is at Candlestick Park, the home of the 49ers. Games at Candlestick have been much closer in the past, with the 49ers earning the win last season 13-6. With home field advantage, the Seahawks should claim the win in the first game, but the second game may prove tough.
Here’s why the Seahawks will dominate in 2013:
1. Russell Wilson:
The quarterback battle will be intense this season with Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson facing off. Both quarterbacks now have a year under their belts and the pressure to prove their talent will only continue to grow. Wilson is the x factor for the Seahawks. The undersized, over-achieving rookie made waves last season racking up 26 touchdowns and tying Peyton Manning’s record for most touchdown passes by a rookie.
He also had 489 rushing yards, ranking him 3rd amongst quarterbacks. He earned a 64.1% completion percentage, ranking him 8th in the league. One thing he can improve upon this year is his passing yards. Last season Wilson had 3,118 total passing yards. Only Christian Ponder had fewer among quarterbacks who started all 16 games last season. This number should go up this season with the acquisition of talented wide receiver Percy Harvin joining Sidney Rice and Golden Tate on the field.
2. Offseason Acquisitions:
Speaking of acquisitions, Harvin was not the only new addition to the Seahawks roster this offseason. The Seahawks strengthened their defensive line, picking up free agents Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. They also picked up former All-Pro cornerback Antoine Winfield. The Seahawks secondary is stacked with All-Pro Richard Sherman (cornerback), All-Pro Earl Thomas (safety), Pro-Bowler Brandon Browner (cornerback), and former Pro-Bowler Kam Chancellor (safety). Adding another former All-Pro cornerback with Winfield further enhances the Seahawks defensive line.
Finally, the Seahawks have an intense hunger to beat the 49ers. This rivalry is not made up by the media or the newspapers, the players feed the fuel as well.
Seattle Linebacker, Bobby Wagner gave his take on the rivalry last month, “They’re one of the top dogs in the league so you know, if we want to be a top dog we got to take down the top dog. So, we definitely look forward to playing them.”
Photo Credit: Larry Maurer / Wikimedia Commons
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