Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks throws the ball in the second half while taking on the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at CenturyLink Field on January 11, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
by Curtis Crabtree
RENTON - The matchup that appeared inevitable for most of the season is now officially set as the Seattle Seahawks will play host to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game on Sunday.
Both teams hold a victory over the other as each team won on home soil in their two meetings this season. The Seahawks hammered San Francisco 29-3 in Week 2 while the 49ers earned a 19-17 victory over Seattle on a late K Phil Dawson field goal in Week 14.
The teams entered the season as the two favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl and will play for the right to head to New York City this weekend.
"It's going to be a great challenge for both teams," QB Russell Wilson said. "It's going to be physical game. It's going to be a game where everybody knows each other. ... We've just got to play great football and be on time and make the plays when we need to make them."
The Seahawks are now just one home victory after from their second trip to the Super Bowl in franchise history.
"We want to bring something special to the city," Wilson said. "In order to do that, we have to play the best 60 minutes of our life."
Head coach Pete Carroll knows it will be a challenge to keep his players locked in with all the distractions around the team this week. However, he feels they've prepared for this moment all season long.
"We are a disciplined group about that. Our language is really solid. You’ll hear from these guys, they know. They understand what this is all about. This now is truly an NFC Championship opportunity for us," Carroll said.
"So it’s really, in that regard, it’s not different than the preparations that we’ve called for in other games. We hopefully will find our best as we go through this and the whole design of the mentality and the language and all the things that we talked about is to get us ready for this opportunity, this moment."
Carroll said he actually has to fight the urge to put too much preparation into this game.
"You could do too much and you miss the points of emphasis that are really important playing good, fundamental football and stuff like that can happen," Carroll said. "So that’s my biggest concern is doing too much in the game planning. So we have to guard against that and we have a lot of checks and balances to make sure that doesn’t happen."
The Seahawks will have to wait until later in the week to learn the status of WR Percy Harvin.
Harvin suffered a concussion in Saturday's 23-15 win over the New Orleans Saints in the Divisional Round of the NFC playoffs. Harvin got blasted on a hit by S Rafael Bush on Seattle's third offensive play that forced him to get evaluated for a concussion. He was cleared to return to the game until another blow knocked him out late in the second quarter.
Harvin had his head bounce off the turf after taking a blow from S Malcolm Jenkins leaping for a ball in the end zone.
"We’ll wait through the week here and see what happens," Carroll said. "Wednesday and Thursday will be the important days to figure out what’s going on."
The concussion will be the only factor Harvin has to deal with. Carroll said Harvin has bounced back great from the game in terms of injured hip that forced him to miss 15 of 16 games for Seattle this season.
"He came out very well," Carroll said. "Yeah we’re way ahead of the game on that one."
Harvin will have to clear the league's concussion protocol in order to play this Sunday against the 49ers.
Carroll also seemed relatively optimistic about the availability of LB K.J. Wright.
Wright suffered a broken bone in his foot during the last meeting against the 49ers in San Francisco on Dec. 8. Carroll said Wright ran well during workouts over the weekend and has a chance to play this week.
"He ran (today) and he’ll get a rest day tomorrow and then he’ll come back out Wednesday and we’ll see where he is," Carroll said.