Are you ready for round 3? The 49ers and Seahawks will meet up Sunday for the NFL's version of heavyweight boxing with a trip to New York for Super Bowl XVLIII on the line. These two teams have been the class of the NFC this season, and this game has been on the horizon since teams began training camp back in August.

For Seattle, their focus has been on getting to this point for over a year. After losing to Atlanta in the Divisional round last season, Pete Carroll told his team, "This is why we need to get home field advantage." Mission accomplished.

The 49ers have been all about getting the opportunity to get back to the Super Bowl to pick up those last 5 yards. They've survived playing without their best wide receiver for the first eleven games of the season, without their best pass rusher for five weeks early in the season, and losing their fullback late in the season to get themselves in this position.

Let's get to the 5 burning questions to which the answers will be key to the outcome of the game.

1) Can the defense keep the ball away from Marshawn Lynch?

Twenty five carries. That appears to be the magic number for Lynch and the Seahawks. If Lynch can get to that number on Sunday, the Seahawks will win. Over the last six games between the 49ers and Seahawks, Lynch has carried the ball 25 times or more twice. The Seahawks won both games.

If the 49ers are able to keep the ball out of Lynch's hands it would mean the 49ers are controlling the tempo and time of possession, both of which have gotten away from them during their recent trips to Seattle.

2) Can the 49ers offense score more than 19 points?

Since Jim Harbaugh took over as head coach of the 49ers his offense has not scored more than 19 points against Seattle. They haven't scored more than 1 offensive touchdown in any game against the Seahawks. Can they change that with a trip to Super Bowl XLVIII on the line?

The other question here would be, "Does it matter?" The way the 49ers defense played last week it may not matter.

3) Will Roman get Gore involved?

Frank Gore has been given the ball 15 times combined over the last two trips to Century Link Field. The last time the 49ers defeated the Seahawks in Seattle was week 16 of the 2011 season. In that game, Frank Gore carried the ball 23 times for 86 yards and the 49ers lone touchdown.

The 49ers must show a commitment to the running game to win on Sunday.

4) Will the defense be able to contain Russell Wilson?

I'm not talking about keeping his stats down here, rather containing him in the pocket. With his small stature Wilson often is at his best when he can move around. The key for the 49ers pass rush this weekend will be to maintain their rush lanes and force Wilson to beat them from the pocket. It all starts with getting a good push up the middle to put guys in his face, and then for the defensive ends to not get deeper than he is. Force him to step up, but don't get too deep to where he can escape up the middle, and then get your hands up.

5) Can Colin Kaepernick beat the Seahawks with his arm?

The Seahawks have blitzed Colin Kaepernick on only 13.9% of drop backs in their two games this season. Against all other opponents Kaepernick has faced a blitz on 31% of his drops. That's a significant difference.

The Seahawks want to force Kaepernick to beat them from the pocket with his arm instead of with his legs, and they have done a very good job with it over the first 3 games against the 49ers young signal caller.

Pete Carroll and Dan Quinn are betting that they can take away Kaepernick's first read and make him drop his eyes to find somewhere to run. Over the last 2 games in Seattle, they have done a great job of dictating where Kaepernick will escape, usually to his left, and have been very successful.

On the flip side, this is the playoffs and Kaepernick has shown a unique ability to step up his play in big games. Can he change the pattern?

Prediction Time:

49ers 13 Seahawks 16