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What they are up against
The Giants will be headed to San Francisco for a rematch of a Week 10 game against the 49ers.
The 49ers are the best turnaround story in the NFL this year and proved last week against the New Orleans Saints that they belong among the league's elite teams. Alex Smith took his game to another level when he out-gunned Drew Brees and put together an epic game-winning drive.
The Giants will also be facing one of the league's toughest defense. The 49ers are littered with young talent on the defensive side of the ball, including Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith. They are just two very dangerous defensive talents that make up San Francisco's great defense.
The 49ers will certainly be much different than any team the Giants have played in the postseason thus far.
How they can win
Offensively, the Giants need to keep doing what they have been doing.
Eli Manning took some serious heat earlier this year when he made a comment that he was among the league's elite quarterbacks. Many critics claimed he did not have the résumé of a Drew Brees or a Tom Brady, but Manning proved them wrong this postseason.
The 49ers have a great defense, but it is built more to stop the rushing attack.
The 49ers showed last week against the Saints that they are susceptible to a strong passing attack and needed to force several turnovers in order to keep the game close. If Manning can protect the ball and get it in to the hands of an on-fire talent like Hakeem Nicks, the 49ers will have a tough time stopping them.
That being said, the rushing attack will still be important.
No matter how strong your passing attack is, you need to use your running backs to control the flow of the game. If Manning can put the defense on its heels early, it will open plenty of room for Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs to do their job.
Defensively, the Giants will need to focus on stopping Frank Gore.
Even though Alex Smith had an incredible performance last week, New York's attention should still be turned toward stopping the running game. The 49ers are a classic hard-nosed, grind-it-out team. They want to control the ball on offense and dominate defensively.
If you can take away the running lanes for Gore, you put the game on Smith's shoulders. He certainly proved he has it in him to win big games, but I would make him do it two weeks in a row.
The Giants have an excellent pass rush built around Jason Pierre-Paul, but he is certainly complemented by Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. They have the ability to rush the quarterback with just their defensive line, which is a huge advantage when trying to limit a team's passing attack.
Odds they pull off the upset
Well above 50 percent.
The New York Giants may be the most complete team remaining in the postseason. They have a very talented defense that can slow both great quarterbacks and running backs, and their offense is led by a top-notch quarterback and has two running backs that can be effective anywhere on the field.
The 49ers still have a lot of questions to answer.
I want to see Alex Smith prove the quarterback he was last week is the quarterback he will be from every week here on out. If he is, so be it. However, one week of greatness isn't enough for me to completely hop on the bandwagon.
That being said, I like the 49ers in this one.
They proved Week 10 of the season that their defense is good enough to stop Eli Manning and company. The Giants are playing their best football of the year, but so is San Francisco. I will take the stronger defense that has enough offense to put up points.
I don't see Smith being the hero, but he certainly won't be the goat either.