NFL Playoff Picks: Why the San Francisco 49ers Will Reach the Super Bowl

Harrison BucContributor IIJanuary 19, 2012

NYG at SF: The battle of the east and west coast for the Super Bowl.
NYG at SF: The battle of the east and west coast for the Super Bowl.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

NFC Championship

New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers

Sunday, January 22, 2012

6:30 p.m. EST - FOX

The New York Giants got into the playoffs in the final week of the regular season with a record of 9-7. Now they find themselves competing for a chance to get to the Super Bowl for the second time in five years. 

Eli Manning has made this team his own, steering the ship and accurately hitting his receivers—especially during this postseason. Despite their record, the Giants have the fifth-best passing attack in the league this season.

Their defense can be sporadic at times, but now it seems like they are playing with meaning.

However, the San Francisco 49ers may be the most balanced team of the remaining four squads in the playoffs. Their rush defense is the best in the NFL (allowing an average of 77 yards per game), and their rushing attack is the NFL's eighth-best, led by RB Frank Gore.

Gore has the sixth-most rushing yards of all running backs this season with 1,211 yards. His powerful approach, especially at home, will be difficult for the Giants' defensive line.

Not to mention that the passing ability of Alex Smith has proven to be a powerful force in the playoffs. Vernon Davis has come up big, and Smith has led the charge; he looks to continue to do so against a shaky Giants secondary.

The conditions for the game might be rainy, but know that the 49ers' fans will be loud, as ever, and create a difficult environment for Eli Manning.

I like the 49ers to win and reach the Super bowl for the first time since 1995.