Monday, January 16, 2012

Giants Pull off upset, will meet Niners in NFC Championship

If you thought last weeks crowd was rockin', just wait till you see what they have in store next Sunday for the first NFC Championship game played in San Francisco since the early 1990's.

The New York Giants went into Lambo and pulled out the upset in very, very convincing fashion, so much so to the point where I was watching that fourth quarter thinking, "This team may actually cause more problems for SF than Green Bay if they play like this again." They've been the team that's hit the hot streak as the playoffs got started, winning 3-straight to clinch the NFC East and then knocking off the Falcons in round one in a matchup that wasn't even close (24-2). They really remind me of the 2010 baseball Giants, as they really caught fire at the tail end of the year and manage to just keep winning. They're a very well rounded team, much like the Niners and even though, yes, there's no doubt I'd rather be hosting the NFC Championship in San Fran rather than traveling to Green Bay, the Packers, believe it or not, have more holes in them than the Giants do right now. New York has the QB who can pick you apart if given time, plus a defense much tougher than a New Orleans D that was amongst the leagues worst defenses. They are going to be tough to run on, tough to pass on and they're going to probably drop Eli Manning back 45-50 times and let him try and find soft spots in the 49ers defense. New York's running game doesn't scare me that much, but they're much more formidable than the Saints and the Packers, bringing the two-headed monster of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw has me a little worried as he's a lot like Darren Sproles, who really had a field day with 14 receptions Saturday vs. the 49ers.

On top of Eli scouring the field, and Bradshaw and Jacobs out of the backfield, New York has a good O-Line, and 3 very good, deep threat receivers the 49ers are going to have to account for. I really think they're going to have to bracket cover Hakeem Nicks because of his deep ability (280 yards, 4 TD's in 2 postseason games in 2012). Let Eli have all he wants underneath and in short routes, just don't expose yourselves deep, something I think the Niners did a very good job of versus New Orleans (sans the Graham and Sproles big TD's). Luckily, despite what they showed vs. a sub par Packers defense, the Giants aren't a real big play team. They want to play a lot like the 49ers, but if they need to win it through the air, Eli is a guy who's done it more than once and has a ring on his finger to prove it. It seems like Eli picked apart Atlanta and Green Bay at will, and he did, but both of those defenses had huge miscues all game. The Green Bay secondary was doing spins and turns trying to keep up with Giants' receivers, you could tell they either weren't prepared, or they just got caught off their game, cause they looked bad. The 49ers are going to be a much tougher defensive matchup than the Giants have seen over the last 5 weeks. That said, this isn't going to be easy by any stretch. Yes the 49ers beat New York, in New York in the regular season, but the Giants were sputtering then and without Ahmad Bradshaw. Now they come to stick, at full strength with a full array of weapons, so the 49ers have to prep for them exactly like they did New Orleans, just don't plan on scoring nearly as many points.

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