Seattle Seahawks

Photo Credit: Shweta Gulati | Daily Texan Staff

NFL Thanksgiving Preview

I can’t begin to start listing the things I’m thankful for. I’m thankful for my family, my incredible fiancée, my amazing friends, and the many dogs in my life. And you know what? I’m thankful for football on Thanksgiving.  It’s fun watching the men in my family hover from their plates to the TV trying to catch a glimpse of the game. On a day we spend so much time with family, we also spend time with our pals Calvin Johnson, Tyron Smith, and Matt Forte.

This particular turkey day gives us three in-division matchups with huge implications in the standings. The Bears travel to the Motor City for a matchup with Matthew Stafford and the Lions. Two 8-3 teams in the Eagles and Cowboys square off with a division lead in their sights. And finally in the nightcap, the defending NFC champion Seahawks take a trip South to San Fran to meet up with Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers.

Let’s take a minute to break each down (obviously with an eye towards fantasy) and get a better taste of what’s to come this Thursday.

***At the bottom of the article, I’ve listed some fantasy D’s to keep an eye on when looking towards playoff matchups.***

Email me at FantasyDecisions@gmail.com with any questions you may have or any lineup help you need. I’m the expert tool at your fingertips

Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions

            For the visiting Bears, this matchup is very fantasy unfriendly and reality-unfriendly as well. The Lions may be coming off a beating at the hands of one Tom Brady, but don’t think for a moment that they’re going to lie down for this game. They know it’s going to take their best effort to beat the Bears and keep pace with the in-division rival Packers. The Lions rank as the 3rd, 4th, and 9th toughest defense, respectively, against QBs, WRs, and RBs. With such a tough matchup, I’m not a fan of Jay Cuter this week. While he has great receivers in Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, Cutler has struggled recently (failed to reach 10 fantasy points in three of the last five weeks). Temper expectations for your Bears pass catching options. As for Forte though, he’s an automatic play and you hope he can continue his momentum from last week’s two-touchdown performance. If Chicago is going to have a chance, it’s key for them to get the ground game going early.

            As for the Lions, this game sets up picture-perfect for Stafford and his receivers. Megatron (Calvin Johnson) could easily go off for 170 yards and a pair of touchdowns on this weak secondary that’s been getting lit up week after week. I could see the Lions jumping out to an early lead on the arm of the Georgia product. Therefore, I really like the potential of Joique Bell this week. I think they’re going to try to control the clock and force Cutler to sling it around on the other side of the ball. If Reggie Bush is announced as being inactive, Joique moves to top 15 RB status for me. And for one last note on the Lions: I really like Matt Prater. You won’t catch me talking about kickers too frequently but this matchup is the best you can hope for at the position. The Bears have allowed the most points to kickers on the year and Prater has a booming leg. And a booming leg inside Detroit’s cozy dome spells fantasy success.

Prediction: Lions 27 – Bears 17

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

            For the Eagles, this game is a chance for them to stake their claim as the best team in the division and a legitimate super bowl contender. Their warp-speed offense under Chip Kelly will look to showoff on the national stage. A couple guys to note in this fast-paced frenzy are Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy, though, I’m afraid Maclin is really going to struggle this week. For as much as they were criticized for their awful defense last year, the Cowboys have patched together a very formidable group. Before getting torched by Odell Beckham Jr. Sunday night, the Cowboys secondary had only allowed three touchdowns to receivers in the past seven weeks. Since Mark Sanchez has taken the reins, Maclin has taken a hit, having only accumulated 23 points over the past three weeks combined. However, Eagles fans, there is hope. And that hope is in the form of one shift RB named LeSean McCoy. After seemingly being primed for a big game all year long, McCoy finally put the yards and touchdowns together last week against the Titans, going for 130 yards and a touchdown on only 21 attempts. And I think “Shady” continues his success in Big D. The Boys have given up five rushing TDs over the past four weeks and RBs are averaging better than four yards a carry as well. This screams big game for one LeSean McCoy.

            As for “America’s Team”, this game against the Eagles presents one huge, huge mismatch and I fully expect the Cowboys to exploit it. Over the past five weeks, the Eagles have given up nine touchdowns to WRs. Dez must be getting his “Throw up the X” celebration ready. I think he might absolutely go off. I’m not doing rankings this week, but he would probably be my top option at the position. The Eagles are not only the worst in the league against receivers, but they’re the second worst against QBs as well. The Romo-to-Dez connection is going to be visited frequently Thursday and I expect a smashing success. But, no Cowboys preview is complete without mentioning the league’s leading rusher, Mr. DeMarco Murray. The Eagles are giving up an average of 18 points to RBs over the past four weeks, and I think Murray makes that number even bigger. Do me a favor, please start your Dallas studs, not that you weren’t already. Dez and DeMarco are as automatic as can be, and I think Romo should be an absolute start unless you have Luck, Manning, Rodgers, or Brady.

Prediction: Cowboys 31 – Eagles 20

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers

            For the Seahawks, this looks like a bad, bad matchup on almost every level. Russell Wilson is a “sit” for me this week going up against the number one fantasy passing defense. I could be wrong, but I just have a feeling Russell really struggles. And to make matters worse, Marshawn Lynch has some tough sledding as well. The 49ers have been the fifth toughest run defense on the year and will look to slow down “Beast Mode”. Having given up only one touchdown in the past 4 weeks, San Francisco has been stout when it matters. However, Marshawn remains a must start, and there is some light in the situation. Four of the last seven RBs to face the 49ers have had at least 100 yards rushing. While I think Lynch’s ceiling may be somewhat limited this week, I think he gets enough yards to make you comfortable starting him. 

            Much the same for the team by the bay, this looks like a defensive struggle in the making. Colin Kaepernick is going up against the second toughest team against the pass, and his receivers are going up against the top rated secondary in football. With only one passing touchdown allowed in their last three games, this is the week to bench your 49er passing options. And the news doesn’t get much better for the backfield. Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde will have a tough time finding many holes against a defensive front that has allowed a 100 yard rusher only twice through week 12. Both backs are touchdown-dependent anyways so play at your own risk.

Prediction: Seahawks 17 – 49ers 14

Best Defensive Matchups in Playoffs (Week 14-17)

Week 14

1.     Texans

2.     49ers

3.     Lions

4.     Vikings

5.     Rams

Week 15

1.     Cardinals

2.     Ravens

3.     Lions

4.     Chiefs

5.     Seahawks

Week 16

1.     Eagles

2.     Bills

3.     Titans

4.     Dolphins

5.     Packers

Week 17

1.     Dolphins

2.     Texans

3.     Seahawks

4.     Colts

5.     Broncos

Celebration time is over for the Seattle Seahawks. The start to another Super Bowl run has begun.

Of course, the odds are against these Seahawks repeating. The last two Super Bowl champions have failed to even reach the playoffs following their championship season.

Seattle started training camp with a handful of starters returning on both sides of the ball. Led by third year quarterback Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and a healthy Percy Harvin, the offense should continue to build on last year’s solid season

But the key to the Seahawks Super Bowl run was their stellar defense in 2013. Seattle spent plenty of money to keep their defense intact, signing Pro Bowlers Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman to long-term deals and preserving what is arguably be the best defensive backfield in the business. Seattle also solidified their defensive line by resigning Michael Bennett to a long-term contract.

Based on what we’ve seen in mini-camp, the Seahawks definitely seem ready to get back to work. Just a few days into practices, the Seahawks have already demonstrated the intensity that lead them to a last year’s Super Bowl. Wide receiver Phillip Bates and Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman got into a heated argument, which led to punches being thrown between the teammates. Teammates blamed the fight on the Seahawks competitiveness but were quick to explain the fight will be quickly forgotten.

As it has been the last few years, the NFC will be incredibly competitive once again in 2014. Of course, the 49ers will be returning a good core to try to end the Seahawks reign. Led by Drew Brees, the Saints will also contend to win the conference. Green Bay and Carolina, led by solid quarterback play, also have the potential to make a Super Bowl run. Nonetheless, the Seahawks will be certainly be the favorite to return to the Super Bowl.

The Seattle Seahawks are Super Bowl Champions for the first time in their 38 years of existence.

The Seahawks defense suffocated the Denver Broncos number one scoring offense from the very start of the game leading to a 43-8 blowout.

“This is an amazing team,” Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said. “Took us four years to get to this point but they never have taken a step sideways. These guys would not take anything but winning this ballgame."

The Broncos played a horrendous game which started with a safety on the first offensive play of the game. The Broncos offense wasn’t able to recover. Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning threw two interceptions and fumbled once. Wide Receiver Demaryius Thomas also had a fumble.

Seattle took advantage of those four Denver turnovers. The Seahawks scored 21 points off turnovers. Seven of those 21 points were off of a Michael Smith interception return which helped Smith win Super Bowl MVP honors.

After a disastrous first half, down 22-0, the Broncos had an opportunity to stage a comeback but Seattle’s Percy Harvin returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown to extend the Seahawks lead to 29-0.

The Broncos’ offense finally scored at the end of the third quarter to close the gap to 36-8 but that would be the last time Denver would find the endzone.  

When the game ended, Carroll was showered with Gatorade, blue and green confetti streamed down and the Seahawks hoisted the Lombardi trophy as NFL Champions for the first time ever.

“We’ve been relentless all season. Having that mentality of having a championship day every day,” Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said. “At the end of the day, you want to play your best football and that is what we did today.”

Super Bowl XLVIII: Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks

Metlife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.

TV: FOX

Time: 5:25 p.m. CST

Spread: Denver (-3)


This year’s Super Bowl features the number one scoring and yards defense as well as the top-ranked offense in scoring and yards.

This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object; the offensive juggernaut Denver Broncos meet the stingy Seattle Seahawks defense in a Super Bowl matchup for the ages.

The Broncos make their first appearance in the Super Bowl since 1998 while the Seahawks make their second appearance, first since 2006.

This is only the second time in the past two decades that the top seeded teams in the AFC and NFC will meet in the super bowl.

The Seahawks will rely on their star-studded secondary to keep Peyton Manning in check. While Manning and the Broncos will try to exploit any possible mistakes made by the Seattle defense.

This game will be won by the team that can use their style to their advantage. Will the Seattle defense contain the Broncos high-scoring offense or will the Broncos offense be too much for the Seattle to handle?

 

Matchups


Quarterback

Advantage: Denver

Peyton Manning has had one of the best seasons any NFL quarterback in the history of the game. During the regular season, Manning threw for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns, both NFL single-season records. Manning is a four-time MVP, a Super Bowl MVP and two super bowl appearances. While Seattle’s Russell Wilson has had success during his two years in the NFL, Manning’s experience gives the Broncos the advantage.


Running Backs
Advantage: Seattle
Known for his “Beast Mode” nickname, Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch rushed for over 1,200 yards and scored 12 touchdowns this year. Complimented by Robert Turbine, Lynch and the Seahawks have an advantage over Denver’s Knowshon Moreno, Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman.


Wide Receivers
Advantage: Denver
Denver has a trio of receivers - Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, and Wes Welker that have scored 35 touchdowns and have accumulated over 3,400 receiving yards. Throw in tight end Julius Thomas, who had 12 touchdowns during the season, and the Broncos’ receivers clearly outshine Seattle.


Defensive Line
Advantage: Seattle
Seattle’s line has a slight advantage over Denver. Seattle has not lost any defensive lineman while Denver lost defensive end Derek Wolfe and defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson.


Linebackers
Advantage: Denver
Denver lost Von Miller for the season in December; Miller was one of the Broncos’ best linebackers. The Broncos still have linebackers Danny Trevathan and Wesley Woodyard. While Seattle has three solid linebackers - Bruce Irvin, Malcolm Smith and Bobby Wagner - Denver has a slightly better linebacker corps.


Secondary
Advantage: Seattle
Known as the Legion of Boom, Seattle’s secondary is the best in the NFL. Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas anchor the secondary. Sherman and Thomas account for 13 of Seattle’s 28 interceptions. Kam Chancellor and Byron Maxwell are Seattle’s other secondary starters. Seattle’s starting secondary accounted for 204 tackles and four forced fumbles.


Prediction
Seattle 26
 Denver 24

Former Longhorn safety Earl Thomas will be suiting up for the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday as they face off against the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

When Super Bowl XLVIII concludes on Sunday, at least one former Longhorn defensive player will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. 

This year’s game features Seattle’s Earl Thomas against Denver’s Michael Huff and Quentin Jammer, continuing a tradition in which a former Longhorn has made it to the Super Bowl every year since 2007. 

Texas junior cornerback Quandre Diggs, who is Jammer’s younger brother, is excited for the matchup and to see the trio represent Texas as “Defensive Back University.”

“It means a lot just to know that pretty much every year for a long time there has been a DB in that game,” Diggs said. ”No matter who wins, we know a DB will get the Super Bowl.”

 

Earl Thomas, safety:

Thomas was drafted No. 14 overall by the Seahawks in the 2010 NFL draft, following a sensational redshirt sophomore season in which he was a Jim Thorpe Award finalist.

Thomas is regarded by many to be the best safety in the NFL and is a crucial piece in the Seahawks’ secondary. If the Seahawks are going to win, they will need their defense to step up, which means Thomas playing at a high level. Though it wouldn’t be a surprise if he makes a game-changing play, Thomas is focused on just doing the little things right.

“You see a lot of guys that aren’t tackling as well; they’re not doing as well as they started,” Thomas said. “That’s what it’s all about — sticking to your core beliefs, sticking to who you are and everything else will take care of itself.”

Of the three Longhorns in the game, Thomas has the most potential to decide the game with a decisive interception or pass breakup.

 

Michael Huff, safety:

Huff was drafted seventh overall by the Oakland Raiders in the 2006 NFL draft, following the 2005 season, in which he became Texas’ first Thorpe Award winner while helping the Longhorns to their first national title in 35 years.

Huff’s best season was in 2010 when he recorded career-highs in tackles, sacks, forced fumbles and interceptions en route to being named a second-team All-Pro safety. He spent his first seven seasons in Oakland before being cut in March 2013, he was later picked up by the Ravens before being cut again mid-season. Now Huff is on the verge of winning the Super Bowl, having been picked up by the Broncos in November. With the humbling experience of losing in Oakland behind him, he realizes the need to seize the moment now.

“Those years in Oakland, getting cut by two teams this year,” Huff said. “To know nothing but winning in college, struggle for seven years and never even get to the playoffs, all of those losing seasons, just makes what I’m feeling right now extra special.”

 

Quentin Jammer, cornerback:

Jammer was drafted fifth overall in 2002 by the San Diego Chargers, after being named a unanimous All-American in 2001.

In 2009, Jammer was named to the Chargers’ 50th anniversary team as a cornerback. After 11 seasons with San Diego, the Broncos picked him up and he is now primarily cornerback Champ Bailey’s backup. Like Huff, Jammer probably won’t have much impact in the game, though he should see some important playing time.

“I am excited to be able to share it with him and go up there and be by his side through the rest of the weekend and hope they go out and get the win,” Diggs said.

Russell Wilson

Stepping into the batter’s box used to be a part of Russell Wilson’s normal routine. The Colorado Rockies drafted Wilson in the fourth round of 2010 MLB Draft.

Wilson had two solid seasons in the Rockies farm system but he had an urge to play football that he couldn’t shake.

Wilson left the Rockies organization in the winter of 2011 and enrolled at Wisconsin to play football.

Wilson had a successful season for Wisconsin throwing for over 3,000 yards, 33 touchdowns and led the Badgers to the 2012 Rose Bowl.

In the 2012 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks gambled on Wilson.

Many sources didn’t like the Seahawks decision to draft Wilson and Seattle was given an ‘F’ for the selection. At the time, drafting Wilson didn’t make sense, Seattle had just spent $25 million on free agent quarterback Matt Flynn.

But when Wilson stepped on the field, it was obvious why the Seahawks gambled on Wilson. Wilson has a strong arm, functional mobility and great downfield vision.

Those skills led Wilson to a stellar rookie season- 26 passing TDs, 4 rushing TDs, 3,118 passing yards and 489 rushing yards.

Unlike many NFL players, Wilson didn’t suffer through a sophomore slump, he followed his rookie season with an equally impressive 2013 season- 26 passing TDS, 1 rushing TD, 3,357 passing yards and 539 rushing yards.

As Wilson prepares for this weekend’s super bowl, the Seahawks can rest easy, their gamble paid off.

 

Peyton Manning

For Manning, it’s been a clear cut path to NFL success. Son of NFL great Archie Manning, Peyton has football in his genes.

Manning was a coveted high school recruit who chose to play for the Tennessee Volunteers. Manning played all four years for the Vols.

During his senior season, Manning threw for 3,819 yards and 36 touchdowns. Manning was awarded the Davey O’Brien award and the Johnny Unitas Award.

Manning was picked first overall by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1998 NFL Draft.

During his 13 seasons with the Colts, Manning won four MVP Awards, appeared in two super bowls and won one.

Now, with the Denver Broncos, Manning has an opportunity to win his second Super Bowl in his third appearance.

 

Two Paths Collide

The 12-year gap between Manning and Wilson is the largest age gap between competing Super Bowl quarterbacks in the history of the game.

And while they may have taken different paths to get to this Super Bowl, they have one thing in common - work ethic.

Both quarterbacks are known for being the first ones into work and the last ones to leave.

Wilson has made an impression on the players and coaches in the Seahawks organization.

“Man, around 6:15 a.m. It's hard to beat (Wilson) here,” Seattle linebacker Malcolm Smith said. “It rubs off on guys. You don't want to be slacking when you know he's in here getting better."

“Russell is fabulous in everything we have asked him to do. He's done a great job of managing all of the situations, and he's come up big just about every time," Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said.

During his fifteen years in the NFL, Manning has been admired for his hard work.

“Peyton's attention to detail, that's probably what separates him from other guys and other people that have played this game," tight end Julius Thomas said. "Every day, I see how much he prepares, I see the little things that he does to make sure he's on top of his game.”

While Super Bowl XLVIII brings these quarterback’s paths together, this game will also send them in different directions.

For Wilson, his career is still young and with his skill set, this probably won’t be his only Super Bowl appearance. A win would put Wilson among the NFL’s elite.

Manning’s career is at its twilight. This Super Bowl is an opportunity for Manning to silence his critics and cement his place as one of the all-time best NFL quarterbacks. 

Denver defeats Patriots 26-16; Advance to Super Bowl XLVIII

Late in the third quarter, down 20-3 to the Denver Broncos, the New England Patriots had a decision to make-- go for it on a fourth and two at the Denver 30 or kick a 47-yard field goal down.

The Patriots rolled the dice and came up empty as Denver sent a well-timed blitz and sacked Tom Brady.

Whether New England wants to admit it or not, the game had been long decided before that moment. Peyton Manning and the Denver offense carved through the Patriots defense which lead to a 26-16 Broncos victory.

Manning outshined rival quarterback Tom Brady throwing for 400 yards and two touchdowns. Manning played a well-crafted game, completing an AFC championship game record tying 32 passes.

“It's very rewarding when you put a lot of hard work into the offseason and the regular season,” Manning said. “It pays dividends with a huge win.”

Meanwhile, New England was held in check for most of the game. It took the Patriots over 50 minutes to find the end zone by the time they scored it was already too late.

New England was able to score 13 points in the final ten minutes but fell short when they were unable to punch in a two-point conversion to make it a one possession game.

With the win, Denver will make their first super bowl appearance since 1998. For Manning, it will be his third appearance in the super bowl, his first with the Broncos.

“We kept our nose to the grindstone, kept persevering,” Manning said. “It’s gratifying to get this win today.”

Denver will matchup against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII at Metlife Stadium on February 2, 2014.

 

Late turnovers sink 49ers; Seahawks advance to Super Bowl XLVII with 23-17 win

49ers quarterback Collin Kaepernick launched a pass in to the end zone intended for Michael Crabtree, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman tipped the pass and it landed in the hands of linebacker Malcolm Smith.

The interception sealed a 23-17 victory for Seattle and a trip to the super bowl.

“I’m the best corner in the game,” exclaimed Sherman in a post-game interview with FOX’s Erin Andrews. In another interview, Sherman said that he “knew it would come down to (the defense) in the back end to win this thing.”

The game was a classic heavyweight fight, each team delivering and taking shots. The 49ers were first to strike with a strip-fumble on the first play of the game.

Kaepernick was key to the 49ers offense, he lead the 49ers with 130 rushing yards. But the Seahawks were able to take advantage of Kaepernick’s mistakes, he turned the ball over three times in the second half.

For the Seattle offense, momentum swung their way when Marshawn Lynch scored on a 40 yard run. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson managed the game with 215 yards passing and one touchdown.

The NFC championship game was defined by the defensive play by both teams. The 49ers made two fourth down stops and forced a turnover. But it was the Seattle that landed the last punch with three forced turnovers in the second half.

“This is as sweet as it gets,” Sherman said.

“This is really special,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll added, “It would really be a mistake to not remember the connection and the relationship between this football team and the 12th Man and these fans. It's unbelievable."

Seattle will meet the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII at Metlife Stadium on February 2, 2014.

Denver, Colo.

January 19, 2014 2 p.m.CST

TV: CBS

Spread: Denver -5 ½

When I originally started to write this, I tried hard to avoid the Brady vs. Manning narrative. However, the more research that was done, the more I realized that the Brady-Manning narrative defines this game.

Peyton Manning and Tom Brady meet again for their fifteenth match-up against each other. Brady has dominated the head-to head series, leading with a 10-4 record. More importantly Brady is 2-1 against Manning in the playoffs.

However, this game will be much different than the previous fourteen. This is the chance for Manning to overcome his doubters. Although Manning has statistically had one of the best careers of all-time, Manning has been defined by his struggles in the playoffs.  Over the years, Manning has faltered in the postseason—only posting a 10-11 record.

Manning’s career has been defined by his head-to-head matchup against Brady. Brady has stood in Manning’s way throughout his career. The first, and only, time Manning beat Brady in the playoffs led to his only Super Bowl victory.

As Manning’s career comes to a close, this could be the final Brady vs. Manning playoff matchup. It is a chance for Manning to beat Brady one more time and lead his Broncos to a Super Bowl.

The narrative for Brady isn’t much different. Brady has made five super bowl appearances and won three.

But Brady hasn’t been able to hoist the Lombardi trophy since 2005. An AFC Championship win over Manning and a Super Bowl win will add to his legacy as one of the best quarterbacks of all-time.

As for the team matchups, the Broncos and Patriots represent two opposite offenses. 

The Broncos are a pass happy team. Manning threw for a NFL record 55 touchdowns and 5,477 yards. Manning and the Broncos throw the ball because they have great receivers—Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Julius Thomas.

The Patriots are a team dedicated to running the ball. With a stable of solid running backs—Legarrette Blount, Steven Ridley, Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden—the Patriots have had success pounding the rock. Blount showed the Patriots dedication to the run with a four touchdown performance against the Colts in the AFC Divisional round.

Both defenses are average but the Broncos have been ravaged with injuries. Denver will be without outside linebacker Von Miller, cornerback Chris Harris and defensive end Derek Wolfe.

With the narrative set, the winner of the AFC Championship game will be determined by which quarterback plays the best. Will Manning prevail over Brady or will it be Brady once again walking off a winner against Peyton Manning?

NFC Championship Game: San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks

Seattle, Was.

January 19, 2014 5:30 p.m. CST

TV: FOX

Spread: Seattle -3 ½

The San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks will play their third game this season when the 49ers travel to Seattle to play in the NFC Championship game.

The 49ers will be playing in their third consecutive NFC Championship game and will look to advance their second Super Bowl in-a-row.

The Seahawks return for to the NFC Championship game for the first time since 2006.

The two teams split their regular season matchup. The Seahawks defeated the 49ers in Seattle 29-3 and the 49ers won in San Francisco 19-17.

The Seahawks and 49ers have equally great offensive and defensive units.

The Seahawks and 49ers possess top ten defenses. The 49ers rank fourth in total defense and the Seahawks in ninth.

The Seahawks arguably have the best secondary in the NFL led by Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman.

The 49ers boast one of the best linebacking corps in the NFL, Patrick Willis, Navarro Bowmen, Aldon Smith and Carlos Rogers lead the defense.

The Seahawks and 49ers offenses are led by two of the NFL’s rising stars—Russell Wilson and Collin Kaepernick, respectively.

The 49ers have a reliable running back in Frank Gore and Seahawks have a dominant back in Marshawn Lynch.

Although both teams mirror each other, the Seahawks have a clear home field advantage. Known for their rambunctious crowd, CenturyLink Field is one of the loudest stadiums in all of sports.

The key to the game will be the 49ers overcoming the Seahawks home-field advantage. The 49ers have lost their last two game in Seattle by a combined 71-16.

Will the Seahawks continue their home domination over the 49ers or will the 49ers defeat the Seahawks in Seattle and advance to their second consecutive super bowl?

For former Texas Longhorns, Week 2 of the NFL season was collectively one of the most impressive in recent memory.  Here's a recap of some of the great Longhorn performances this week, as well as a look ahead to their teams' matchup in Week 3.

Earl Thomas - Safety, Seattle Seahawks

Along with Seattle's deafening home crowd, Thomas was a large part of a phenomenal defensive effort against the potent 49ers' offense. He recorded three tackles and intercepted the 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick. This week the Seahawks will host the Jaguars. Expect Thomas and the Seahawks' secondary to perform well against struggling Jags quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

Brian Orakpo - Defensive End, Washington Redskins

Orakpo filled out his stat sheet nicely this week against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Despite the Skins' 18-point loss, Orakpo's never-ceasing motor earned him five tackles, two for a loss, and a sack.This weekend he'll face another relatively immobile quarterback in the Lions' Matthew Stafford.

Aaron Williams - Cornerback, Buffalo Bills

The Bills fought hard for new head coach Doug Marone's first NFL victory against Carolina last week. Aaron Williams made a pretty bit difference in the Bills' secondary, as he made a game high 12 tackles including one for a loss. He's always been a lock down corner but sometimes had issues tackling. It appears he's corrected that problem since he left Texas.  This weekend, Geno Smith and the New York Jets await Williams, a great matchup.

Jermichael Finley - Tight End, Green Bay Packers

Finley had an effective outing last week against the Redskins. With Greg Jennings gone, Finley figures to be a bigger target for Rodgers going forward. His six catches for 65 yards and a touchdown last week certainly validates that claim. He and Rodgers will face a tough Cincinnati secondary next week.

Jamaal Charles - Running Back, Kansas City Chiefs

Compared to Charles' standards, last week's results weren't all that impressive: 16 carries for 55 yards, 3.4 yards per carry, is far below his career averages. But he made big runs when the Chiefs needed them the most. He ran for a key first down late in the fourth quarter to keep Dallas' offense off the field, sealing the win.