The San Francisco 49ers (14-4) will beat the Seattle Seashawks (14-3) by four points, 21-17, and become the NFC champions for the second year in a row.
The difference maker will be a variable not measured in fantasy football: San Francisco's 5-2 playoff record since Jim Harbaugh became their head coach in 2011. In three seasons, Harbaugh has taken the 49ers to three consecutive appearances in the NFC Championship game.
His two playoff losses were to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship game two years ago and last year in the Super Bowl to the Baltimore Ravens. San Francisco beat Green Bay and Carolina in consecutive road games to play their way into the conference championship game against Seattle.
Unlike the AFC Championship game, this contest features the No. 3 and No. 4 rushing quarterbacks in the NFL. Seattle's Russell Wilson was third behind Cam Newton of Carolina and the Raiders' Terrelle Pryor and Colin Kaepernick was fourth with 524 yards and four touchdowns. Wilson rushed for 539 yards and one touchdown.
Kaepernick made several crucial runs in the two road wins, including a touchdown run against Carolina. One concern for the 49er quarterback is his 41.7 quarterback rating when he plays in Seattle. The Seahawks secondary has a lot to do with his ineffectiveness as they lead the league in interceptions and lowest number of passing yards allowed.
The concern for Wilson is he slumped in December. Over the last four games of the regular season, his quarterback rating was 31 points below his average. He threw seven touchdown passes and three interceptions. In last week's 23-15 playoff win over the Saints, Wilson completed 9 of 18 passes for 103 yards and no touchdowns.
Both teams have a star running back and stellar defenses. The 49ers Frank Gore and Marshawn Lynch are prime-time playoff rushers. Lynch ran for 140 yards and two touchdowns against the Saints. Gore ran for 84 yards, but averaged 4.9 yards per carry against the Panthers.
Seattle had the No. 2 defense and special teams unit and San Francisco was No. 5 based on fantasy football statistics. According to NFL.com, Seattle was No. 1 in fewest points allowed and San Francisco was No. 3.
The 49ers pass receiving trio of wide receiver Anquan Boldin, wide receiver Michael Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis is more productive than the Seahawks trio of Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin and Zach Miller. With Percy Harvin out due to a concussion, Seattle will need their secondary to contain San Francisco's pass catchers.
49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has the ability to lead an underdog to victory in crucial contests. San Francisco holds off the Seahawks and their 12th man to win the game and earn the right to play the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.