Seahawks loom if 49ers win

CHARLOTTE -- The inevitable is on the table.

If the San Francisco 49ers are going back to the Super Bowl, they will have to go through Seattle. If the 49ers win Sunday at Carolina, they will play at Seattle in the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 19. Seattle, the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs, beat No. 6 seed New Orleans 23-15 on Saturday.

The 49ers and Seahawks have one of the most heated rivalries in the NFL, and many consider them the two best teams in the NFL. They split their regular-season meetings, with each team winning at home.

The fact that Seattle won Saturday also means Candlestick Park is officially closed. The 49ers will move into Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara next season.