Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 1/16/12

(By: Rich Bergeron)

Both of the teams going head to head in the NFC Championship game next Sunday at 6:30 PM EST on Fox are coming off incredible and improbable wins. The New York Giants took the defending Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers to school at their own home field Sunday, winning 37-20 to go on to the NFC Championship game. The Packers nearly went undefeated during the regular season, only losing once to the Kansas City Chiefs. That was before the Giants came to town and became Giant killers. The San Francisco 49ers came into this season with a new coach and a bunch of new faces on both sides of the ball. The result of the transformation gave the 49ers a 13-3 regular season record, losing only in fairly close shaves. The New Orleans Saints went down to the wire with San Francisco on Saturday in a battle for the ages. The arm and legs of Alex Smith came through to provide some of the final fireworks that would propel the team over the Saints to the championship round. The 36-32 win proved this team is here to stay and is playoff ready. 

This game is a week 10 rematch. San Francisco won that November 13th game 27-20. Eli Manning (359-589, 4,933 yards, 29 TDs, 16 INTs) will have to have a career day Sunday to put up the numbers it will take to beat the 49ers offense. San Francisco Running Back Frank Gore (282 carries, 1,211 yards, 8 TDs, 17 rec., 114 yards) ran like a beast to compile 89 yards with a long of 42 against the Saints and Quarterback Alex Smith (273-445, 3,144 yards, 17 TDs, 5 INTs) played a masterful game behind center, throwing for 299 yards and three touchdowns. San Francisco Coach Jim Harbaugh rebuilt this team from the ground up and made it a much more complete squad. Back on week 10, the Giants lost to the 49ers, but the Giants had the game's leading passer (Manning, 311 yards), rusher (Brandon Jacobs, 55 yards), and receiver (Victor Cruz, 84 yards). Superstars tend to come out of the woodwork on a team like that, and it was Vernon Davis who exploded most recently with 180 yards on 7 grabs with two touchdown catches.

The Giants have a balanced running attack with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, who have a combined 49 post-season carries this year for 240 yards. They had the most impressive blowout of the playoffs thus far, whipping the Atlanta Falcons 24-2 in the wild card round. The Giants will certainly rely on Eli Manning's playoff experience and his natural pedigree. He'll perform well under pressure, but it may not be enough to overcome the strength and the backbone of the San Francsico 49ers: defense. The 49ers allowed the fewest average rushing yards per game in the league this year (77.2) and allowed the second fewest points per game (14.3).

The 49ers will face the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl this year. The Giants will put up some impressive numbers, but Alex Smith and his 49ers offense will explode. Look for Manning's scoring drives to end with multiple field goals, and if he can get hot enough at the end of the game he might win it at the last second, but the 49ers had a great rehearsal for last second hereoics against the Saints. They'll beat the Giants by a field goal.

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