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Everything you need to know about the NFC championship game

The Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers meet Sunday with a trip to the Super Bowl at stake. Here's what you need to know about the NFC championship game:

1. The Seahawks have beaten the 49ers by a combined score of 71-16 in their last two meetings in Seattle and are 16-1 at home since the start of the 2012 season. However, since losing to Seattle on the road in Week 2, the 49ers have won eight of their last nine games away from home. With a 14-5 road record since the start of 2012, the Niners have more road wins during that span than anyone else in football. So this is basically a matchup between the best home team and best road team in the NFL. Both teams have lost exactly eight games overall the last two seasons.

2. During the regular season, Seattle scored 0.7 more points per game than San Francisco. The Seahawks also allowed 2.6 fewer points per game. Both defenses ranked in the top five in terms of yards and points allowed, with Seattle taking the crown in both categories. 

3. The Seahawks had 39 takeaways during the regular season, which led the league. The Niners had "just" 30. Each were part of a group of just seven offenses which coughed the ball up fewer than 20 times. 

4. The Seahawks are the only team left in the playoffs that hasn't won a Super Bowl. San Francisco can get there for the seventh time in franchise history and win it for a record-tying sixth time. Seattle lost to the Steelers in 2005. That year, they beat Carolina 34-14 in their only NFC championship game appearance in team history. They also lost to the Los Angeles Raiders in the 1983 AFC championship game. 

5. Seattle and San Francisco were the only teams in the NFL that ran more than they passed in 2013. The Seahawks ran 53 percent of the time, while the 49ers ran 52 percent of the time. Nobody else was above 49 percent. 

6. Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick posted near-identical rushing numbers. Wilson ran for 539 yards on 96 carries while Kaepernick picked up 524 rushing yards on 92 attempts. Their backs were similar, too. Marshawn Lynch ran for 1,257 yards a 4.2 average, while Frank Gore picked up 1,128 yards on a 4.1 YPA cut. 

7. Wilson had a better season as a passer, though. His 101.2 rating was nearly 10 points higher than Kaepernick's (91.6). He averaged an extra half-yard per attempt (8.2 to 7.7) and was much more accurate (63.1% to 58.4%). He also had five more touchdowns (26 to 21) but one more pick (9 to 8). 

8. But check out their last five games. Wilson: 57%, 158 YPG, 4 TD, 3 INT, 6.6 YPA, 76.4 rating. Kaepernick: 59%, 227 YPG, 7 TD, 1 INT, 8.0 YPA, 98.1 rating.

9. The 49ers didn't have top receiver Michael Crabtree when they lost to Seattle in Week 2. Crabree had a monster wild-card game in Green Bay and has gone over 100 yards twice in the last four weeks. Seattle didn't have offensive Swiss army knife Percy Harvin for either regular-season meeting with San Francisco, but Harvin had just 21 yards in his return last week and is hurt again.

10. Seattle is only 3-2 in its last five games, while the Niners have won eight in a row.

Brad Gagnon

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com (covering Super Bowls XLIV, XLV and XLVI), a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Bloguin, but his day gig has him covering all things NFC East for Bleacher Report.

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