49ers-Seahawks, Bengals-Steelers, Vikings-Texans top Week 16

  • By Ian Rapoport
  • Updated: Dec. 19, 2012 at 01:12 p.m.

The doubters of the decision to start Colin Kaepernick have quieted down. All the second-year player has done is go 4-1 since taking over for Alex Smith as the San Francisco 49ers' starting quarterback, showcasing a near-perfect mix of efficiency and explosion.

It was all on display for the nation last Sunday night, when the former Nevada star out-dueled Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in a thrilling 41-34 win, establishing his team as a physically dominant force in the NFC.

The only problem?

The 49ers have unfinished business in their own division. The feisty Seattle Seahawks have won three in a row, thanks to an oppressive defense and the guts of Russell Wilson on offense. Seattle can still swipe the NFC West crown out from under the Niners' noses.

And the Seahawks will be in a place where they are undefeated (CenturyLink Field), in an atmosphere that's as big a test for Kaepernick as any he's seen on a professional level.

Even if you forget about the immense implications, the fireworks should come early and often. Two versatile, exhilarating quarterbacks who run around and make plays. Two sturdy, aggressive defenses that display anger at any yard gained. And two running backs (San Francisco's Frank Gore and Seattle's Marshawn Lynch) who try to hurt defenders.

What better way to decide division supremacy than in a street fight? Oh, yes: This is the best game of the week.