- Jeff Gold, ESPN Contributor
How could Fox have left tonight's game between the 49ers and Seahawks unprotected? Other than Lambeau Field, there's no better venue than Seattle's Qwest Field. This is a can't-miss game.
The Seahawks are the hottest team in the league, winners of five of their past six and their last two by a combined score of 108-17. The 49ers just became the first team in three years to beat the Patriots during the second half of the regular season.
The quarterbacks are emerging stars, the coaches don't like each other dating back to their days in the Pac-10, and the rivalry is in the infancy stages of becoming one of the best in the league.
For all the talk about how Colin Kaepernick has changed the 49ers' approach on offense, consider this: San Francisco is actually running the ball more frequently with Kaepernick as the starter. In games in which Alex Smith started, the 49ers had 30.3 rushes per game and 30.2 passes; with Kaepernick, it's 32.6 rushes and 27. 6 passes.
The last time these two teams met sparked one of the great gambling controversies of the season. The 49ers elected to decline a penalty that would have given them a safety in the final minute (which also would have given San Francisco the cover) so that they could instead take possession and end the game. Conspiracy theories abounded, but they made little sense because Harbaugh's decision actually hurt people who bet his team.
According to ESPN PickCenter, the public is divided on this game, with 51 percent backing the 49ers.
Let's get a pick from Geoff Kulesa of Wunderdog Sports.
Spread: Pick 'em
11hMatt Walks, ESPN.com
19hOhm Youngmisuk and Rich Cimini