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The San Francisco 49ers want revenge against the New York Giants after last season’s heartbreaking 20-17 overtime loss in the NFC Championship game. But no one wants revenge more than 49ers wide receiver Kyle Williams. Williams was responsible for two muffed punts, including one in overtime that led to the Giants game-winning field goal to send New York to the Super Bowl and eventually a world championship. The 49ers have since moved on, picking up right where they left off in 2011, starting the 2012 season 4-1, with the lone loss coming to the Minnesota Vikings. The Giants on the other hand are in a dog fight within the NFC East, as every team in the division seems poised to stick around all season and contend for the playoffs.
In last season’s NFC Championship game in San Francisco, both Eli Manning and Alex Smith were under constant pressure all evening. The game was what the score indicated – a slug fest. The Giants won because the 49ers made two crucial mistakes, which propelled the Giants to the Super Bowl and left the 49ers left with what could have been. This year it seems to be the same story, just a different chapter. Both the 49ers and the Giants have returned talent and seemed poised to make postseason runs again in 2012. The Giants beat a bad Cleveland team last week, but in the NFL, every win is a big win. Despite falling behind early, New York stormed back to take a first half lead and ultimately won the game 41-27. The point brigade has been nothing new to Eli Manning and the Giants, as New York currently ranks second in the league in points per game, averaging over 30 points per game this season. For the 49ers, Jim Harbaugh and Alex Smith have proved to be the perfect couple, much like Harbaugh and Andrew Luck were at Stanford.
WHAT TO WATCH
If the season were to end today, it would be hard not to say that the Super Bowl could be renamed the Harbaugh Bowl. Both Jim and John have their respective teams off to 4-1 starts and both seem to have clubs that are built for the playoffs, mainly because of the improved offenses. The 49ers will always play good defense under Jim Harbaugh, but the offense has been the story thus far in 2012. The 49ers are averaging just under 30 points per game and lead the league in rushing yards per game, averaging just under 200 yards per game on the ground. Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter have carried the load, as both average 5.4 yards per carry. The important factor in Sunday’s game is who can protect the quarterback. Alex Smith and Eli Manning will have to make plays, and if last year’s heavyweight bout was any indication, the offensive line better strap it up and bring it. The team that limits the pressure on the quarterback will probably win this game.
San Francisco is favored by five at home, which is a smart move, especially given that it is hard to pick against Jim Harbaugh in a revenge game like this. The Giants have what the 49ers want – a Super Bowl trophy. Expect the 49ers to treat this like their Super Bowl, especially as they try to make amends for the loss last season. The safe bet here would be with San Francisco, but never discount Eli Manning in a big game.
Giants vs. 49ers Odds
For this matchup, oddsmakers are acting like the Giants didn’t beat this team last season… this could be because the Giants have yet to find a consistent stride, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Right now, the San Francisco 49ers (-280) are favored by 6.5 points over the Giants (+235) according to the NFL spreads found at BetOnline. Additionally, 46 points has been established as the over/under for this game which seems a little bit high however both of these teams have talent and us viewers should be in for a great game.