Originally posted on NBC Bay Area  |  Last updated 11/10/11
Did anyone ever think Alex Smith would be compared to a quarterback named Manning? Through his first six NFL seasons, the 49ers quarterback mostly was compared to former No. 1 picks who had failed to live up to expectations, not those who had won Super Bowls. Yet this week as the Niners and Smith get ready to play the New York Giants Sunday at Candlestick Park, Smith’s name is being mentioned in the same stories as the Giants’ Eli Manning. Both quarterbacks are getting large amounts of credit for leading their teams to the top of their divisions – the Giants  at 6-2 atop the NFC East and the 49ers at 7-1 leading the NFC West. Smith was the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft in 2005; Manning was the No. 1 overall choice in 2004. As the top pick, Smith was supposed to be the Niners’ savior; as the little brother of Peyton Manning, Eli was expected to be just as good, immediately. Smith is sixth in the NFL with a 97.3 quarterback rating; Manning is No. 5 at 98.8. Smith has been an eff...
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