This is the third consecutive appearance in the NFC Championship Game for the 49ers, who lost at home to the New York Giants in 2012 and won last season at Atlanta before then losing to the Ravens in the Super Bowl. This is the 15th conference title game in 49ers history. They are 6-8 in the previous 14, going 2-3 on the road. The 49ers rank as the hottest team in the playoffs with eight consecutive victories, the past three on the road, including playoff victories at Green Bay (23-20) and Carolina (23-10). Stylistically, the 49ers are pretty much the same team they have been in their three years under coach Jim Harbaugh, ranking third in the NFL in rushing offense this year (137.6) and fifth in total defense (316.9) while picking their spots in a passing game led by quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Bob Condotta