In this weekend's game at Candlestick Park, the 49ers and Giants face off in a clash of the titans. While Frank Gore and Eli Manning garner most of the attention from the fans and media alike these days, there is a smorgasbord of other juicy components to this NFL showdown.
At this very moment, both squads are huddled up in small rooms studying tape. They are searching for that one tiny tidbit of dirt on their opponent that they will try to use in order to get the slight edge that represents the difference between a win and a loss.
The two offenses couldn't be more polar opposites.
The reason that people focus on Eli Manning and Frank Gore is because these two players are their teams' offensive production.
The Giants are sixth in passing with 282.9 yards per game while fielding a sub-par rushing attack that ranks 29th in the league with only 88.8 yards per contest.
On the other hand, the 49ers field one of the most conservative offenses in the NFL. Alex Smith only attempts 25 passes per game, and the Niners rank 30th in yards with a modest 173.5 yards per game.
Gore leads the sixth ranked rushing attack, and he and rookie Kendall Hunter are putting up 137.6 yards a game.
We know that the 49ers have the number one ranked defense against the run. We know that the 49ers have the number one defense in scoring, allowing a salty 14.75 points a game.
We know that the 49ers are second in the NFL at the plus/minus turnover ratio with a +12.
We know that the Giants aren't playing inspired in their run defense, as they rank 25th in the league giving up 127.1 yards a game on the ground.
We know that they are losing the time of possession battle, allowing opponents to have the ball for 30:18 a game.
Eli Manning will have to channel his older brother if the New York Giants have a hope of winning in San Francisco. He will have to battle the clock as well as the crowd.
The key to victory for the San Francisco 49ers will hinge on the play of the secondary.
Dashon Goldson, Carlos Rogers, Donte Whitner and Chris Culliver, along with the others, will need to play disciplined within their assignments.
The 49ers front seven, led by stud all-world linebacker Patrick Willis, will do what they always do: bottle up the run and hunt the quarterback. Although they only accomplished one sack last week against the Redskins, I do recall that Jon Beck was running for his life most of the time anyways.
The only thing that can beat the San Francisco 49ers is themselves.
They will continue their "arrow up" this weekend on their way to another victory.