Tim Lewis: Seahawks vs 49ers rivalry gaining momentum

Cornerback Richard sherman doesn't hold back when he talks about the Seahawks' rivalry with the 49ers.

"There's no love lost; there's no love found," Sherman said.

Then again, Sherman doesn't hold back when he talks about anything.

"There will be some dislike, some strong dislike," said Sherman about this weekend's game. "It's going to be intense. It's going to be physical. I don't know if there are going to be handshakes after this one."

Safety Kam Chancellor takes a different approach with the rivalry. There's no hate, he says -- it's nothing but respect for the 49ers.

"I think everyone's perception about (the rivalry) is different," Chancellor said. "I like their team because it's a challenge. I'm always welcoming challenges. It brings the best out of you and it makes you a better player."

That's why this rivalry is tops in the NFL right now. It's two of the best teams going head-to-head.

"I think if both teams were 4-12 it wouldn't be such an intense rivalry," Sherman said. "That's where you get rivalries -- when both teams are firing on all cylinders, winning ball games, and winning big ball games. That's when you become those kind of rivals."

When it really comes down to it, safety Earl Thomas points out that the Seahawks and 49ers are very similar. There are stats to back that up. The two teams have played 30 games altogether, and each team has won 15 times.

"That's what makes it so great," Thomas said. "It's going to be very physical and we like it that way. It gives everyone who's watching a chance to see who we are. As a competitor you want this to be a close game, and you want it to be magnified so you can step up and make that play."

The Seahawks and 49ers have played some big matchups in the past, but this is easily the biggest game in the history of the rivalry. It's the first playoff meeting between the two, they're battling for the NFC Championship, and there's a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.

If you thought the regular season battles between Seattle and San Francisco were wild -- just wait until Sunday.