Well, we're mid-way through the week, and there's already been enough trash talk between the Giants and the 49ers via Twitter, that it's almost comical. It just adds another element to what should be an epic NFC Championship at a potentially wet Candlestick Park.
The forecast calls for rain this weekend, and if you live in the Bay Area, you could almost feel it coming on Wednesday, as it's been a little overcast all morning. I think if the weather report does hold up and the teams are playing on a wet field come Sunday, it exponentially helps the 49ers. The 49ers have a better run game and can control the ball on the ground. I would expect to see a lot more of Alex Smith on the move in this game as well, whether it's straight QB-sneak calls, or roll-out QB choices, I think Harbough will give him free reign to tuck it in and run whenever he sees a hole. I was hoping he'd do it more often against the Saints, but he didn't until the play called for it and ended in that beautiful sweep out for a touchdown. One thing Aaron Rodgers did at will seemingly vs. this Giants defense was pick up some yards on the ground, leading the Packers with 66 yards on just 7 rushes. Smith can move better than Rodgers, and if the Giants will are going to expose that, then the 49ers need to take full advantage. They managed to beat the Saints without really establishing a run game. They had a few big plays including Smith's run and Gore's 42-yarder to help give them 150 rush yards for the game, but they never really go into rhythm with it. That will have to change in order to beat the Giants. The 49ers cannot be a one-dimensional offense and as good as he looked vs. the Saints, they cannot rely on Smith throwing for 300 yards against that defense.
As for the trash talk, it all started with Giants' wideout Victor Cruz saying his team is much more content going on the road to play the 49ers than they would have been had they had to face the Saints. That's fair enough, I mean, the Saints demolished the Giants when they played in season whereas the 49ers just beat them by 7. The fact that the Giants already lost to the 49ers, when the 49ers didn't have their best offensive player, Frank Gore, should be a concern for that team though. As good as their pass-rush can be, a good running attack and short pass game can beat a good pass rush. I know they weren't 100% right defensively, and there leader on defense, linebacker Michael Foley, when the 49ers beat the Giants in November. The Giants played OK, and Eli got his yards, but the 49ers already outplayed this team, this season, on the very turf they'll lineup on this Sunday. They should be rolling into this game with all the confidence in the world and I think they are. In response to some of the Giants chatter, all Donte Whitner had to say was, "In San Francisco, we talk with out pads", and then partner in crime Dashon Goldson reiterating that the 49ers hit and tackle, they don't miss. Sure, the trash talk helps make for a more intriguing matchup, but this game is already under the microscope and is (obviously because of the New York team no doubt) getting the most media play, in a week where Tom Brady will face the ultimate test in a rugged Baltimore defense.
I said this in our last post, and reiterated it a bit in this one, but again, I have all the confidence in the world in the 49ers right now, much like I felt about the 2010 San Francisco Giants. As long as they play their game, get the rushing attack established and keep Alex protected on offense, at the same time control the Giants' running game and making them one-dimensional, this is there game to loose. If they get another quick 14-0 lead like they did vs. the Saints, it wouldn't hurt either. I said it all season long, and even though they proved me wrong Saturday, this team plays much better with a lead, even a small one, and they need to ensure they get out to an early one Sunday.
As I've been doing over the last few weeks, we'll have our final thoughts and preview/prediction for this game, as well as the AFC game in Friday's post, but as of now, I wouldn't be surprised to see a 49ers-Patriots Super Bowl match-up.