In one of the most eagerly anticipated NFC Championship Games in recent history, the Seahawks host divisional rivals the 49ers tonight as two mirror image teams face off to make the Super Bowl.
Both teams rely heavily upon their running game, with the 49ers' Frank Gore and the Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch likely to be integral cogs in the machine for their respective sides.
They say defensive wins championships, and both sides certainly have that. But on offensive, each team will look to ground and pound throughout the game, and the team that does it the best will likely win the game.
49ers' hard-hitting safety Donte Whitner knows fully well what his team have to do.
“You have to take him [Lynch] away,” admitted Whitner. "Like he's said, he doesn’t run to get tackled. He’s one of the best backs in the National Football League. Very rough style. We have to take him away and make the quarterback beat us.
“It’s very difficult. Everybody’s been trying to do that all year, and they haven’t been able to do it. But if we want to go to where we want to go, we have to do it. So that’s the mindset.”
On the flip side of the coin, Seahawks' head coach Pete Carroll knows his Seattle side will have to control powerful Niner runner Gore.
“He’s really capable,” Carroll told Seahawks.com. “He’s a fantastic runner. He’s got great sense. He’s got as good a sense in the line of scrimmage as anybody that’s playing in the game. If you make a mistake, he takes advantage of it.”
We'll see which power back wins out tonight.