Facing the arduous challenge of back-to-back playoff road games in freezing Green Bay and chippy Charlotte, the San Francisco 49ers turned in inspiring efforts and delivered victories over the Packers and Carolina Panthers, respectively, which earned them another road trip, this one the most daunting of all – returning north to sound-barrier-busting Seattle.
In recent years, wild card teams have braved the harrowing playoff road all the way to claiming the NFL title and the 49ers are making a most serious bid to be, sorry Seahawks, the next wild-card to complete the rough journey that puts them back into the Super Bowl, where San Francisco can, this year, be triumphant.
As for Seattle, it will be, as it should, favored to win this Sunday’s, Jan. 19, NFC title game (3:30 p.m.), since it is the NFC West champion, the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs, and holding the most dominant home-field advantage, with the loudest venue, in the NFL, where it has lost only once in a couple of seasons.
But that loss was delivered recently by the Arizona Cardinals, who fell twice to the 49ers, who split their two division games with the Seahawks – getting hammered in Seattle and earning some pay back in San Francisco.
Even though the Seahawks beat New Orleans on their home field in Saturday’s NFC playoff game, the Saints regrouped in the second half and came close to doing a little more tarnishing of Seattle’s home domination.