Sports Out West

NFC West Wild Card Roundup: 49ers outlast Packers, Seahawks set to face Saints

Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch, USA TODAY

With the regular season now finished, things began to ramp up this past weekend as it was the Wild Card round of the playoffs. The San Francisco 49ers in their Wild Card matchup against the Green Bay Packers were able to squeeze out a 23-20 win on a last-second field goal . The Seattle Seahawks, who had a first round bye, will face the New Orleans Saints in the divisional round of the playoffs:

So with that said here is a look at the Wild Card round with the Division matchups in mind:

 San Francisco 49ers

In their second meeting of the season with the Packers, it was much of the same as it has been in the last four matchups between the teams with the 49ers once again walking away with a victory. San Francisco was able to get a win over Green Bay in large part due to the play of Colin Kaepernick, who is now 3-0 in his career against the Packers. Kaepernick on Sunday, much like he did in the past two meetings, used his feet and his arm to stifle the Green Bay defense as he passed for 222 yards with one touchdown and an interception to go along with 98 yards rushing on seven attempts.

Kaepernick’s ability to use his legs as a treat has been a major problem for the Packers’ defense as they could not contain him as he made his most important rush of the game on a 11-yard scramble that helped set up a game-winning 33-yard field attempt for kicker Phil Dawson. The 49ers will need their young quarterback to once again be a dual threat as they look to avenge their Week 10 10-9 loss to the Carolina Panthers who  hold home field advantage in the game next week.

The 49ers since Week 12 have been a different team as they have won their last seven games and appear to have momentum on their side. But with that said, it is going to be another tough matchup for San Francisco as Carolina has the second-best rush defense in the league allowing just 86.9 rushing yard per game and in their Week 10 matchup they did not allow the 49ers to score a touchdown.

Seattle Seahawks

With a Wild Card round bye and home-field advantage all throughout the NFC Playoff bracket, the Seahawks appear to have a favorable matchup against the Saints in the divisional round. This will be the second time that both teams have faced each other  this season with their first meeting coming in Week 13 at CenturyLink Field where Seattle handed the Saints a 34-7 loss in their worst offensive showing in the 2013 regular season. In that game, the Seahawks’ No.1 ranked pass defense held Drew Brees to just 147 yards passing with one touchdown with a 22.7 quarterback rating.

In that convincing win, Russell Wilson had a dominant performance by throwing for 310 yards with three touchdowns against the league’s second best pass defense. The Seahawks will not only need another solid game out of Wilson, but their third-ranked rushing attack lead by Marshawn Lynch to defeat a highly motivated Saints team that is looking to redeem themselves after an embarrassing performance in Week 13.

Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch, USA TODAY

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Bob Garcia IV

Bob Garcia is a sports journalist from Southern California. He was a reporter for the award-winning newspaper, The Daily Sundial, at California State University, Northridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @BGarcia90.

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