Carroll: 'Not a better matchup than this'

RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said this is as good as it gets, one last home game against a division rival with a Super Bowl spot going to the winner.

Sunday marks the NFC Championship Game at CenturyLink Field between the San Francisco 49ers and Seahawks, two teams that know what each other is all about.

"I think it's the matchup that everybody wanted like to see," Carroll said on his 710 ESPN Seattle radio show Monday morning. "We don't mind it one bit and they don't mind it, either. It'll be a great one.

"These are the two teams everyone was talking about early in the year, so it's interesting how accurate all the [predictors] were. There's not a better matchup you could find right now in the NFC. We're thrilled about it."

The Seahawks and 49ers split their meetings this season, with each team winning at home.

"It's a blast to be playing this game at home and the opportunity to be 60 minutes away from going to the Super Bowl," Carroll said. "It's a thrill to be in this setting. That fact that we do have this familiarity with each other makes this game a really cool matchup."

Carroll was asked how that familiarity changes the Seahawks' preparation.

"It doesn't change things, it's just the variables are different," he said. "They know us and we know them. We know what we've done well against them, and same for them. So now you're playing the chess match. What is the right way to emphasize certain things and take advantage of things they've done?"

The Seahawks defeated the 49ers 29-3 in September at CenturyLink before losing 19-17 at San Francisco last month. Seattle led 17-16 before Phil Dawson kicked a 22-yard field goal for the 49ers with 23 seconds to go. A 51-yard run by Frank Gore set up the winning kick.

"We should have won down there," Carroll said. "We got the lead and had a chance to stop them and let it get away. It was a one-play deal that put them in field-goal range."

Carroll said the 49ers have played great football since that game.

"Gosh, they look good," he said. "I've watched them a lot. They've played very consistent football at the end of the season. It's a really well-quipped football team coming in against another really well-equipped football team."

So now it's down to the Hatfields and McCoys of the West Coast in a shootout to reach the Super Bowl.

"With all the buildup coming this week, it's going to be fun and I think everyone will enjoy a great spectacle," Carroll said. "We're going to play really hard, really smart, championship football. This is what's it all about."