49ers 13

(10-4-1, 5-3 away)

Seahawks 42

(10-5, 7-0 home)

Coverage: NBC

8:20 PM ET, December 23, 2012

CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA 

1 2 3 4 T
SF 0 6 0 713
SEA 14 14 7 742

Top Performers

Passing: C. Kaepernick (SF) - 244 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: M. Lynch (SEA) - 26 CAR, 111 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: M. Crabtree (SF) - 4 REC, 65 YDS

49ers-Seahawks Preview

Techin' In with the 49ers O-Line
Katie Linendoll visits San Fran to talk tech and challenge the 49ers offensive linemen Joe Staley, Alex Boone and Mike Iupati to a dance-off in Just Dance 4

The San Francisco 49ers need one win to clinch their second straight NFC West title.

Getting that done this week will mean doing something no other team has this season -- winning in Seattle.

The 49ers' top-ranked scoring defense could be in for a major test Sunday night when the high-scoring Seahawks will try to clinch their second playoff berth in three seasons and stay in the West race.

San Francisco (10-3-1) could have found itself in danger of letting the division lead slip away in Seattle after the Seahawks ripped Buffalo 50-17 at Toronto on Sunday, but instead turned in an impressive performance in their first of back-to-back prime-time contests. The 49ers built a 28-point lead at New England and hung on for a 41-34 win over the AFC East champs, clinching a playoff berth.

"Our team has now hung in in a lot of big-time pressure games," said coach Jim Harbaugh, whose team is in the driver's seat over 10-4 Green Bay for the NFC's No. 2 seed. "They've overcome adversity. They've shown they can do that."

The 49ers, though, have yet to show they can win three in a row this season, going 0-3-1 in their previous four chances. San Francisco has won four straight in this divisional matchup following a 13-6 victory on Oct. 18, but the Seahawks (9-5) are a much different team now with three consecutive wins and five in six games.

"The Seahawks are a hot team right now," 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who threw four TDs in Foxborough to earn NFC offensive player of the week honors, told the team's official website. "Their defense is playing great. Their offense is putting up points. So we have to be ready."

San Francisco's defense is the best in terms of points allowed (15.6 per game, one total point less than the Seahawks) and second in total yards (293.0), but Seattle's offense has been clicking lately. After setting a team record for points in a 58-0 win over Arizona on Dec. 9, the Seahawks became the first team in 62 years to score at least 50 points in consecutive weeks.

Their 108 points in those contests is tied for the third-most over a two-game stretch.

"We're definitely clicking well," said quarterback Russell Wilson, who ran for three scores and threw for another against the Bills. "I've been on a couple of teams that have scored that many in college. But to do it in the National Football League, I mean that's really tough to do."

No rookie QB since the 1970 merger had won his first six home games, but that's exactly what Wilson has accomplished.

Since he posted a season-low 38.7 passer rating in the loss at San Francisco, Wilson has completed 66.3 of his passes for 13 TDs with just two picks and a 111.3 rating.

Seattle is averaging 33.4 points in those contests -- second only to the Patriots' 41.3 during that stretch.

"I'm just thrilled that (Wilson's) been able to continue to grow," coach Pete Carroll said. "For a time, we were just trying to get the offense going and not screw it up and make sure he could keep growing.

"Well, we're past that now."

While Wilson and Marshawn Lynch -- who is 121 yards shy of becoming the third Seahawk back to reach 1,500 -- deserve much of the credit for Seattle's improved offense, the defense has been equally as impressive. This unit has allowed 14.2 points per game and forced 17 turnovers during this 5-1 run.

Seattle has been winning without cornerback Brandon Browner, who's served half of a four-game suspension for using performance-enhancing substances, but the news could get worse. Teammate Richard Sherman will have an appeal of the same suspension heard Friday, and if he loses it, he could also be forced to sit as soon as Sunday.

The Seahawks could also be without cornerbacks Walter Thurmond and Marcus Trufant, both of whom are nursing hamstring injuries. Should they be unable to go, Seattle would be down to rookie Jeremy Lane, Byron Maxwell and Ron Parker in the secondary.

Those absences figure to make it more difficult to keep 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree in check. Crabtree has 23 receptions for 301 yards and two TDs in the last three contests.

The 49ers rank second in the league with 162.9 yards per game on the ground, but leading rusher Frank Gore hasn't totaled 100 since running for a season-best 131 against Seattle.

If the Seahawks win, they'll still have a chance to win the West. Even with a loss, Seattle can clinch a playoff spot Sunday with losses by the Bears, Vikings and Redskins.

"It's a big division finish for us and we'll see how it goes," Carroll said.

"All we can do is focus on this game right here. We'll have no trouble focusing. They're a great team and coming home and all that it will be exciting to get ready."

San Francisco was the last visitor to win in Seattle with a 19-17 victory last Dec. 24.


Passing Leaders

B. Gabbert63.12031107
C. Kaepernick59.0161565
R. Wilson68.14024348
T. Jackson66.73700

Rushing Leaders

C. Hyde1154704.13
S. Draughn762633.51
T. Rawls1478305.64
R. Wilson1035535.41

Receiving Leaders

A. Boldin6978911.44
T. Smith3366320.14
D. Baldwin78106913.714
J. Kearse4968514.05

Team Averages & NFL Ranks

Total YardsSF
Yards PassingSF
Yards RushingSF
Yards AllowedSF
Pass Yds AllowedSF
Rush Yds AllowedSF

Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)

Seattle leads 12-10
Oct 18, 2012SF 13, SEA 6
Dec 24, 2011SF 19, @SEA 17
Sep 11, 2011SF 33, SEA 17
Dec 12, 2010SF 40, SEA 21
Sep 12, 2010SF 6, @SEA 31
Dec 6, 2009SF 17, @SEA 20
Sep 20, 2009SF 23, SEA 10
Oct 26, 2008SF 13, SEA 34
Sep 14, 2008SF 33, @SEA 30
Nov 12, 2007SF 0, @SEA 24
Sep 30, 2007SF 3, SEA 23
Dec 14, 2006SF 24, @SEA 14
Nov 19, 2006SF 20, SEA 14
Dec 11, 2005SF 3, @SEA 41
Nov 20, 2005SF 25, SEA 27
Nov 7, 2004SF 27, SEA 42
Sep 26, 2004SF 0, @SEA 34
Dec 27, 2003SF 17, SEA 24
Oct 12, 2003SF 19, @SEA 20
Dec 1, 2002SF 31, SEA 24
Oct 14, 2002SF 28, @SEA 21

Research Notes

The 49ers have used pistol sets on 33 offensive plays their last two games after using such sets on 30 times the first 12 games of the season. With Colin Kaepernick at quarterback, the 49ers have run more than 80 percent of the time from pistol formations, and have averaged 6.4 yards per rush.
Russell Wilson has completed at least 50 percent of his attempts against four or fewer pass rushers in every game but one this season, his Week 7 matchup against the 49ers. Wilson went 6-of-15 (40 percent) against such rushes in the game for 85 yards.
The 49ers defense has allowed one touchdown on throws more than 20 yards downfield this season, best in the NFL. Russell Wilson has touchdown passes of those distances this season, second best in the NFL, but was held to 0-of-5 with an interception in Week 7 against San Francisco.
Nearly 25 percent of the Seahawks rushes the past three games have been option plays. Over that time, the Seahawks' rush offense has averaged 5.2 yards per rush before first contact, twice the rate the team averaged in the first 11 games played.

ESPN Stats & Information