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    "Sunday, January 22, 2012 marks the 42nd NFC Championship Game. It will be the
    fifth time that the New York Giants
    have made an appearance. They have never lost in this round of the playoffs and
    have split the games equally on the road and at home.

    The San Francisco
    have made the second-most appearances in the Championship game,
    thirteen to be exact. Their record in this round is 5-7. Their W/L percentage is
    .500 at home (4-4). The Niners have lost their last four out of five games in
    this round.

    It was 1991 when last these two teams met in the NFC title game. Joe Montana
    was throwing for the 49ers. Jeff Hostetler was filling in, quite well, for an
    injured Phil Simms. The Giants came out on top, 15-13. Now, these two teams will
    square off for the second time this season in, what is beginning to look like,
    another "Cinderella" story for the Big Blue Wrecking Crew.

    Position-By-Position Breakdowns
    -- The Offenses
    -- The Defenses
    -- The Special Teams

    Who are the San Francisco 49ers?

    They are a team who finished with the third-best record in the regular
    season, 13-3. They are a team who were one game out of last place in 2010. Sadly
    enough, they were also one game out of first, housed in a division that could
    have used a shot of Viagra. They are a team that defeated the Giants earlier in
    the year. That loss initiated a four game losing streak for Big Blue. They are
    also a team that has one of the top five defenses in the league and aim to shut
    down a ridiculously talented New York aerial attack.

    Who are the New York Giants?

    If you haven't heard by now, these are the same guys who sent the "best
    football team in history" to bed without any supper. Last week, the Giants
    bested the best in Lambeau Field, a place that is not easy to win at. They are
    currently on a four-game winning streak. So are the 49ers, with a week off in
    between, of course. One of these team's streaks will come to an end this Sunday.
    One team's journey will continue. Who will be crowned the NFC Champions this
    Sunday in San Francisco?


    Alex Smith is not one of the flashier quarterbacks this season. He did not
    throw for a gazillion yards. He hasn't thrown many touchdowns. He is not even in
    the top ten. In fact, he was the most sacked quarterback in the league. What he
    did do is throw the least amount of interceptions this year (5) and make the
    plays he needed to make that allowed his team to clinch a Bye week in the
    playoffs and their division.

    ATT - 445

    Comp - 273

    YDS - 3,144

    Comp % - 61.3

    Yds/CMP - 7.1

    TDs - 17

    INT - 5

    Sack - 44

    QB Rating - 90.7

    Alex Smith is ranked No. 19 in the league (PASSING YARDS).

    His postseason QB Rating is 103.2 (1 game)

    Eli Manning has
    officially finished his training at the Shaolin Temple and has earned his
    "elite" status. He is averaging 303.5 yards per game in the postseason. That is
    a nice number but his regular season average is even better. There is no
    question that this kid will finish his career in New York and his jersey number
    will be retired.

    ATT - 589

    Comp - 359

    YDS - 4,933

    Comp % - 61.0

    Yds/CMP - 8.4

    TDs - 29

    INT - 16

    Sack - 28

    QB Rating - 92.9

    Eli Manning is ranked No. 4 in the league (PASSING YARDS).

    His postseason QB Rating is 121.8 (2 games).


    Frank Gore
    finished the year out with 1,211 rushing yards, sixth-most in the NFL. He also
    got off to a bang-up start last week. He was the league's second-leading rusher
    with eighty-nine yards. This is where the Niners are most dangerous in their
    offensive scheme.

    San Francisco's running game is ranked 8th in regular season play.

    They are ranked 5th in the postseason (1 game).

    It was a rough season for the Giants rushing game. The tandem of Brandon
    and Ahmad
    collectively ran for 1,230 yards, just nineteen yards more than
    Frank Gore. These are small numbers considering that Jacobs and Bradshaw ran for
    over 2,000 yards last season. Yet, they have picked things up a bit towards the
    end of the regular season and in the playoffs.

    New York's running game is ranked 32nd in regular season play.

    They are ranked 7th in the postseason (2 games).


    led the Niners in reception yards (874) during the regular season.
    He recorded four touchdowns to boot. Vernon Davis
    came in second, with 792 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Last week, in the
    Divisional game, Davis led the league with 180 receiving yards. Those are big
    numbers when you factor in that he only had seven receptions.

    The 49ers are ranked 30th in receiving yards (regular season).

    They are ranked 5th in the postseason (1 game).

    Victor Cruz
    was somewhat limited in his play last week. But "limited", as it pertains to
    Cruz, is not exactly a text book definition of the word. He had seventy-four
    receiving yards on five receptions. Opposing defenses have figured out that it
    would be a good idea to double and triple team him. That sort of scheming is not
    what one would call conducive to shutting down the Giants' offense. Hakeem Nicks
    is as equal a threat as Cruz is. Nicks has 280 receiving yards this postseason
    and has the most touchdowns, four. Also coming up big is Mario
    , Travis
    , Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. This receiving corps is very hard
    to successfully scheme against.

    The Giants are ranked 5th in receiving yards (regular season).

    They are ranked 2nd in the postseason (2 games).

    Offensive Line:

    The Frisco offensive line was able to punch holes in opposing defensive lines
    to get their running game going. Yet, they were not strong enough to protect
    Alex Smith throughout the year. Smith was the most sacked quarterback in the
    NFL. The way the Giants front four have been playing, this group is in for a
    long day.

    San Francisco's Offensive Line is ranked No. 26 (regular season).

    They are ranked No. 7 in the postseason (1 game).

    The Giants' O-line have been quietly doing well all season long,
    statistically speaking. They gave up the fifth-least amount of quarterback sacks
    and the twelfth-least amount of quarterback hits. The running game wasn't
    prevalent this season. The jury is still out on if they should bear the brunt of
    the blame.

    New York's Offensive Line is ranked No. 7 (regular season).

    They are ranked No. 4 in the postseason (2 games).

    The 49ers are ranked 26th in TOTAL OFFENSE (regular season).

    They are ranked 5th in the postseason (1 game).

    The Giants are ranked 8th in TOTAL OFFENSE (regular season).

    They are ranked 3rd in the postseason (2 games).


    Frisco's NaVorro Bowman had the seventh most combined tackles (143) out of
    all the linebackers in the NFL during the regular season. Patrick
    came in second on the team with ninety-seven combined tackles. Each
    had two sacks. But the real talent of this backer crew is, first-round Draft
    pick, Aldon Smith
    and Ahmad Brooks. Smith finished the year with fourteen sacks. Brooks with
    seven. The Giants O-line will have their hands full, as the Niners will
    undoubtedly be bringing the pressure.

    The 49ers have the No. 1 ranked rush defense (regular season).

    They are ranked No. 1 in the postseason (1 game).

    They may have had their struggles earlier in the year. But they have it all
    together now. Michael Boley,
    who only had one sack during the regular season, put Aaron Rodgers
    on the ground twice last week. He ranks third in postseason tackles (14). Chase
    comes in with thirteen tackles and a fumble recovery. Mathias
    and Jacquain Williams also have been looking sharp .

    The Giants have the 19th ranked rush defense (regular season).

    They have the 5th ranked rush defense in the postseason (2 games).

    Defensive Line:

    The stand-out player on the Niners D-line is Justin Smith.
    He finished the year with 58 tackles, 7.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. Ray McDonald
    put together 5.5 sacks, two pass deflections and two forced fumbles on the year.
    Aside from one sack in the postseason, this front three have been

    Easily the strongest and scariest part of this Giants defense. Jason
    was the leading tackler of all defensive lineman in the NFL. JPP
    also had the fourth-most sacks in the league. He is second in postseason
    tackles. In the postseason, they have been equally beastly. Osi Umenyiora
    has 3.0 sacks, a half sack out of the lead. Rocky Bernard
    has one postseason sack. Linval
    , Chris Canty and
    Justin Tuck have
    all amped up their play as well. The Frisco O-line will be feeling the effects
    of this game for weeks to come.


    If you are looking for a vulnerability on this 49ers team, you've found it.
    The run defense for San Fran has been so good this past year that it escalated
    them up the stats ladder. Defending the pass is definitely not their forte. Last
    week they gave up 435 yards and four touchdowns. You can almost hear the crowd
    chanting now, "CRUUUUUZZZZZZ!"

    San Francisco's pass defense is ranked 16th.

    They are ranked 11th in the postseason (1 game).

    The Giants just took on two of the most potent offenses in the NFL. To break
    it down a touch further, they just played the Green Bay
    . This secondary, who had its toils throughout the season, seems to
    have finally found the wining formula. In the last two postseason games, they
    have only given up 212 yards per game. Those are pretty good numbers,
    considering the two teams that they just contained. This is a rejuvenated
    secondary who are doing it all.

    New York's pass defense is ranked 29th (regular season).

    They are ranked 5th in the postseason (2 games).

    Special Teams:

    This is one of the strongest branches of this 49ers team. David Akers is
    in his thirteenth season and is one of the most accurate kickers in the NFL.
    Akers made seven 50+ yard field goals this season and was the league's leading
    kicker. Keep in mind, the more field goals a team has made, the less trips to
    the end zone did they take. Andy Lee was one of
    the better punters this year. His 50.9 average led the league. Their return game
    is nothing to sneeze at. Ted Ginn returned a kickoff for 102 yards earlier in
    the year. Ginn had 800 kick return yards and 466 punt return yards, including a
    55 yard touchdown return.

    The Giants weren't overly impressive on Special Teams during the regular
    season. That trend is continuing, somewhat, in the postseason. Lawrence
    is tied for first with four field goals. They don't rank very high in
    the punting area. That is because they have not had to punt the ball much. Steve
    has only had to punt six times in the last two games. That, in
    and of itself, tells that tale of this Giants offense.

    The San Francisco 49ers total defense is ranked 4th (regular

    They are ranked 11th in the postseason (1 game).

    The New York Giants total defense is ranked 27th (regular season).

    They are ranked 4th in the postseason (2 games).

    Jim Harbaugh may win coach of the year. He has earned, at the very least, a
    nomination for how he has turned this 49er team around. Many analysts consider
    San Francisco to be the most complete team in the playoffs. When you consider
    that they gave up over four-hundred yards of offense last week, it really does
    alter that perception.

    While their regular season doesn't indicate this, the New York Giants seem to
    be playing the most well-rounded football this postseason and this is exactly
    when you want your team's pilot light on high. The Giants are definitely heating
    things up and doing the impossible once again. They are just one win away from
    the big game. Can they finish?"


    "Are the New York Giants
    better mudders than the San Francisco
    ? Seems like we are going to have to find out Sunday in the NFC
    Championship Game.

    According to, it is supposed to start raining in San
    Francisco on Thursday and pretty much not stop until Monday. That, of course,
    means messy conditions Sunday at Candlestick Park.

    Does bad weather favor the Giants or the 49ers? You can probably make an
    argument either way.

    The Giants are the big-play offense that depends on vertical plays in the
    passing game and yards after catch from their receivers. Theoretically, those
    would be harder to come by on a wet, slippery track. You could also argue that
    rain could impact the ability to throw the ball accurately to begin with.

    The 49ers offense is built around Frank Gore and
    the running game, so a muddy track should not be as much of an issue for them.
    However, on paper the 49ers have an advantage in the kicking game with punter Andy Lee and
    placekicker David Akers both
    being named All-Pro, and a messy track might neutralize that, especially when it
    comes to Akers, a perennial Giants nemesis.

    Thoughts, Giants fans?"

    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1