There are three NFC teams that the San Francisco 49ers should avoid come playoff time, especially if they want to make it to the Super Bowl. These three teams have either proven they can beat the 49ers or have a very good chance of doing so.
As with any sport, the probability of winning rises with a favorable matchup. Conversely, those odds decline with an unfavorable matchup.
So, let's review the three NFC teams that pose the greatest threat to the 49ers' Super Bowl hopes.
Don't read too much into the 49ers' win at Lambeau earlier this year; that game was months ago, and much has changed. Whether they play at a soggy, rained-out Candlestick Park or a frozen, ice-cold Lambeau field, the edge goes to the Green Bay Packers, mainly because of Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers, 2011-12's league MVP, currently owns the highest passer rating among all starting quarterbacks and is carving up defenses like filet mignon.
It doesn't matter if his top targets (Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings) are out of the lineup. He makes second-tier receivers like Randall Cobb and James Jones look like studs.
If the 49ers go up to Seattle, they have a zero-percent chance of winning based on games played there this season.
You could argue that it's the crowd noise or maybe even the gnarly weather, but that's all just part of the scenery.
The Seahawks' threats appear in their vicious defense: running back Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch and upstart rookie QB Russell Wilson.
If the 49ers have to play the Seahawks in the playoffs, they had better hope it's at Candlestick Park.
Nobody schools coach Tom Coughlin—not the New England Patriots, not the Green Bay Packers and definitely not the San Francisco 49ers.
The New York Giants head coach has been around this league far too long and has won far too many Super Bowls to be denied by a less experienced coach.
In two trips to San Francisco, Coughlin's Giants have walked out with victories, slamming the 49ers with a ferocious pass rush and gutting their vaunted defense. Not even Jim Harbaugh can outsmart Tom Coughlin at this game, so the 49ers' best bet is for another team to draw Big Blue in the postseason and knock them out early on.
There are no easy roads to the Super Bowl. And contrary to belief, the best team is the last one standing at the end of the season.
So if the 49ers are destined to win a Super Bowl, it shouldn't matter who they play. With that said, some roads look less inviting than others.