Scout: Absence of Harvin is 'giant' factor

SEATTLE -- The fact that Seattle Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin will miss the NFC Championship Game Sunday could be a game shifter, ESPN analyst Matt Williamson said.

It could be a big reason why the San Francisco 49ers pull an upset, Williamson said.

“I think it is giant,” Williamson said. “It will certainly be a close game and being at home is huge for Seattle, but Seattle not having Harvin is that important.”

The Seattle offense has not been playing at a high level and Harvin would have given it a speed dynamic it is missing, and the San Francisco defense would have had to account for it, Williamson said. Now, the 49ers can focus on stopping a less-than- spectacular Seattle attack. Williamson thinks the 49ers will take advantage of it.

“[Seattle quarterback] Russell Wilson is capable of greatness, no doubt, but he is also slumping in a huge way right now and his receiver corps is lackluster at best. I think that is going to be the difference in San Francisco’s favor. [Seattle running back Marshawn] Lynch can put the team on his back, but I don't think that is enough versus the 49ers’ defense.”

Thus, if the 49ers win on Sunday, the decision not to play Harvin may loom as a pivotal reason why.