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Picking the 49ers? OK. Pulling for the 49ers? No way
Picking the San Francisco 49ers to win the Super Bowl is one thing. Pulling for them to do it is something completely different.
That’s the dilemma that faced four Seahawks who were asked this week to predict the outcome of Sunday’s game at the Superdome between the NFC West rival 49ers and AFC Champion Baltimore Ravens.
“Two tough teams, so it’s going to be a good battle. But I’m going to have to go with the Ravens,” strong safety Kam Chancellor said, adding that the Ravens will prevail by 10 points.
But can Chancellor bring himself to root for the 49ers? They are, after all, in the same division and the Seahawks would be able to claim that they were one of four teams to beat them this season – and beat them down in a 42-13 romp at CenturyLink Field in Week 16.
“Nah,” Chancellor said. “They can win after we win one.”
Linebacker Mike Morgan, however, did pick the 49ers, even though he has a sentimental reason to hope that the Ravens win.
“I would like for Ray Lewis to win it, but I think the Niners are going to pull it off,” Morgan said. “It’s kind of tough pulling for the 49ers, but I think they’ve got a younger, more-athletic team. I just feel like they’ve got a better squad right now.”
Even with that said, Morgan’s heart is with Lewis, the Ravens’ Hall of Fame linebacker who has announced this will be his final season – and therefore his final game will be on Sunday, in the season’s biggest game.
Then there’s that hey-look-what-we-did aspect if the 49ers do win.
“That makes you feel a little better,” Morgan said.
Heavy emphasis on the “a little.”
Offensive lineman James Carpenter planted his formidable feet firmly in middle ground, offering, “I don’t know. Put me down for undecided.”
Wide receiver Charly Martin didn’t pick a winner, either, but there was nothing undecided about his reason.
“I don’t care,” he said. “That’s a tough decision. Because of the competitive spirit, you’re all Seahawks.”
And yes, there was some of that we-should-be-there sentiment because of the way the Seahawks took the lead late in the fourth quarter of their divisional playoff game against the Falcons in Atlanta, only to lose and give it back – and also because of the what-if factor that lingers from the Seahawks not getting a rubber-game rematch with the 49ers in the NFC Championship game.
“As a football fan, you obviously watch the Super Bowl,” Martin said. “But that’s really about as invested as I’m going to get in this one – just watch it, especially because we were so close. And also because we played San Francisco twice and we know what they offer.”
What the 49ers offered in that Week 16 game in Seattle was not much. They had no answer for Russell Wilson, who threw a season-high four touchdown passes; or Marshawn Lynch, who ran for 111 yards and a TD; or Doug Baldwin, who caught two of Wilson’s TD passes; or a Seahawks defense that did a better job than anyone else in defusing 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick (19 of 36 passing and a 4.4-yard average on seven runs).
The 49ers had beaten the Seahawks in San Francisco in Week 7, but by a score of 13-6 in a game that could have easily flipped if Wilson’s receivers had hung onto any of the handful of passes they dropped or the defense would have had an answer for Frank Gore (131 rushing yards on 16 carries and five receptions for 51 yards).
“So I’m honestly going to be a fan of the game on Sunday,” Martin said, “and try not to think too much about it. I don’t even like watching all the stuff this week leading up the game, because as a player you want to be there.” Read