There are matchups that everyone thinks will happen or should happen each year. Rarely do they happen in both conferences, but it definitely has happened this year. And really is it possible to get more even matchups than we’ve got this year? Could you have more star power? It’s really a dream weekend for the NFL without a doubt, so let’s break down the two matchups.
Let’s be clear… there probably couldn’t be more animosity between two professional teams in the modern era than what you will find in this matchup. The Pittsburgh/Baltimore rivalry had close to this level in the past, but I feel like this even has a leg up on that because the coaches even genuinely don’t like each other. Throw in the old Stanford/USC side of things as well and it’s probably a powder-keg. But dislike doesn’t guarantee good football. You know what does? Everything that makes these teams great! So let’s break this down:
1. Quarterbacks – This is a great matchup of modern-era young quarterbacks. They are mobile. They are good passers. They are leaders. They are the future. They also are far from carbon copies. Kaepernick is big, fast, cocky, and marketable. Wilson is small, fast, smart, and humble. If I have to choose one of the two to start a franchise with, I would choose Wilson, simply because I like the person that’s been told that he can’t and he proves everyone wrong. As for this game, I want the guy with a 12th man on his side. Edge – Seahawks
2. Running Backs – Unlike the quarterbacks, these guys are old-school. Frank Gore is a North-South runner that looks for someone to run over. Everyone keeps thinking that his skills should start diminishing soon, but it just hasn’t happened. Marshawn Lynch runs angrier than anyone I can remember. He doesn’t stiff-arm… he attempts to dispatch defenders with prejudice and disdain. I’m not going to break it down much. I love watching both of these guys run. Somebody give me a couch and let me sit back and watch. Edge- Push
4. Defense – These are the two best defenses in the playoffs. There’s no disrespect to either one. I promise that any other team would be thrilled to have either one. The one edge I think that may exist is that San Francisco will need to get pressure on Russell Wilson (which they are absolutely capable of) in order to keep the passing game in check, while Seattle’s secondary can do a shut-down job even if they don’t get to Kaepernick with the front four and they are even more lethal if they do get to him. Edge – Seahawks
5. Coaching – Both men can coach. Pete Carroll drives me crazy. Jim Harbaugh may be crazy. Both are exceptional offensive minds. For me the edge goes to overall track record. Edge – 49ers.
6. X-Factor – The 12th Man – Seattle has an elite home field advantage and it very well could impact the 49ers ability to succeed. Edge – Seahawks
Ahhh… from the New World Order, back to The Classics. Long-time NFL coaches. The best two quarterbacks of a generation. I don’t know that two quarterbacks outside of the same division have EVER played against each other as many times as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have. And truthfully, I never get tired of it. And naturally, the running backs may decide it all. Let’s get to the breakdown.
1. Quarterbacks – People fall on one side of the aisle or the other. I’ve…this may get me shot in Kansas City…always loved Peyton. Ever since his days at Tennessee, I’ve been a fan. But I’m leaving that to the side. Both fan bases are thrilled to have their guy and they are the best of a generation. I’m calling this a push out of respect for just how brilliant these guys are. Soak it up people. There aren’t a ton of these matchups left. Edge – America
2. Running Backs – This may be the area that decides the game. Blount is reborn of late. Vereen is super gifted in the passing game. Ridley runs downhill…when he holds onto the ball. Moreno is a rock. Ball is on a roll. Turnovers and big plays are huge swing votes here. Edge – Push
3. Receivers – It’s so not even close. Thomas/Thomas/Decker/Welker. Every Quarterback dreams of a stable of weapons like that. Edge – Broncos
4. Defense – Both defenses are really beat up and I think the question is which one will be the smaller liability. Not much to break down for me. I’ll tune in to the NFC title game to watch defense. I am tuning in to this one for the offense. Edge – Push
5. Coaching – Belichick vs. Fox. John Fox is a good coach who has had success wherever he’s been. Bill Belichick is a transcendent coach. His sustained excellence and ability to take each game at face value and devise a specific plan for each matchup is unparalleled. Edge – Patriots
6. X-Factor – Turnovers – And if you can tell me which team is going to turn it over more, I’d appreciate it right about now. Edge – Who Knows.