The 49ers and Giants are officially locked in for the 2012 NFC Championship Game in a rematch of a fun game earlier this season. Both teams came away with upset victories this weekend and both have been underestimated at times this season. The 49ers open as slim 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 point favorites depending on whom you ask. They will be considered favorites in some circles, but I would imagine the Eli Manning factor could give the 49ers a little bit of fodder this week.
There will be plenty of storylines, and thanks to the Packers losing we won't have 10,000 stories about the 2005 NFL Draft. Instead, we'll get a lot more pertinent football breakdowns to give us a better idea of what this matchup means. There are tons of great matchups in what I think could be a respectable sequel to the regular season matchup.
The 49ers secondary will face a group of receivers that are as good as any they have faced this season. While the Saints have a prolific offense, they spread the ball around to so many different players. The Giants can spread it around, but Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham bring some serious skills to the table.
Although the 49ers did get burned on some big plays yesterday, they also did some great work more often than not. Carlos Rogers, Chris Culliver and Tarell Brown all made huge plays yesterday, and could get just as many opportunities on Sunday. The 49ers secondary versus the Giants wide receivers will be one of the most important matchup of the day.
A storyline that will get a little bit of play is the weather report. The folks at weather.com are projecting a mix of light showers and steady run starting Wednesday and lasting through Sunday. The Giants aren't an indoor attack like the Saints, but they will still look to pass frequently on Sunday. It will be interesting to see what a muddy field can do to slow that high flying attack.
And of course the history storyline will get as played out as anything. This will be the eighth postseason matchup between these two teams, which is the highest for the 49ers. They have had some epic contests (2003, 1991) and some one-sided beatdowns (1994, 1987). After last week, I think my heart could use a comfortable 49ers victory.