The NFC Championship Game is among us.
All the pieces are now in place, and its going to come down to whichever team executes more effectively.
The 49ers enter this game as two-point favorites over the Giants. Other than the favorite in this game being chosen by whoever holds home-field advantage, these two teams are matched very equally.
On one side, you have Eli Manning and the explosive fifth-ranked passing attack in the NFL with the Giants offense, averaging 295.9 YDS/g. This Giants offense is going up against the fifth-ranked 49ers pass defense in the NFC only allowing 230.9 YDS/g.
The Giants come into this game with the 32nd-ranked regular-season rushing attack going up against the No. 1-ranked rushing defense. It's pretty clear here, based on regular-season performance, the Giants will be at a clear disadvantage running the ball.
On the passing side of the game, the Giants should have the edge here going up against the 16th-ranked NFL team in pass defense, as the Giants are the NFL's fourth-ranked passing attack team, averaging 295.9 YDS/g going up against a talented 49er defense.
The regular season is not going to have much effect on the outcome of this game. On paper, it would appear that the 49er's are slightly the better team.
I wouldn't be so fast to send them into the Super Bowl based on their regular-season performance.
What will be the biggest game changer this week?
The momentum once again is going to play a huge part in New York's game plan. New York has now won four straight "playoff games" in which they have won by a margin of at least 15 points in each victory.
This game should be a very close matchup, maybe even a repeat of the 1990 NFC title game between these two teams.
Look for the Giants defense, which has really come together as a unit this past month to match the 49er defense in what I'm expecting to be a hard-fought defensive battle.
Last time these two teams met back in November, the 49ers came away with a 27-20 victory—at a time when it was clear the New York defense had no unity and confidence. Things have changed very much in the past two months for New York.
For what's shaping up to be a very exciting conference championship, look for Eli to minimize the mistakes he made in their last meeting. Also keep an eye on the New York Giant defense to get some key turnovers on Sunday. They recorded four turnovers against a Packers team that had gone 15-1.
The Giants should not be intimidated heading into Candlestick Park for their rematch with the 49ers this weekend. As long as they play to their strengths and minimize mistakes, New York should be leaving with a victory en route to Indianapolis.