It would be easy as fans to look past the Giants. We shouldn't. I am not saying they will win and this has nothing to do with the 49ers team, they are well coached, always come out prepared, and certainly will not overlook the Giants. This is for the fans. We are excited after the Saints win. We started thinking about not just a Superbowl but a new dynasty (at least I did). I can't blame us. Emotions are high. We just witnessed one of the greatest sporting events I ever seen.
On top of that we have all been told by the media all year that the Saints and Packers are the teams we need to worry about. With them out of the way it seems like we should just walk into the Superbowl. But we can't.
And finally, getting the game at home is better than playing in Lambeau. It doesn't matter if we are playing the Giants, Packers, AFC Pro Bowl team, or St. Mary's school for the Blind, it is better to play at home than on the road. No disrespect intended towards the Giants but we would rather play them at the Stick than play the Pack on the frozen tundra.
So why shouldn't we look past them?
The Reasons that don't matter:
2010 Packers - 10-6 - The number 6 seed going into the playoffs. They got healthier and got hot during the playoffs. That run ended with them hoisting their forth Packer's coach trophy.
2008 Cardinals - 9-7 - Just like the Giants they were the 4th seed by winning their division. Other than that these two teams are very different. The Cards ended up in the Super Bowl.
2005 Steelers - 11-5 - But had the 6th seed. Most times a 6th seed doesn't have an 11-5 record. This was a good team and they won the Superbowl.
A storyline that the media has been talking about over the last couple of seasons is that it isn't about being a good team all season it is about getting hot in the playoffs. That may or may not be the case. There have been a few teams that got hot in the playoffs and won. There have also been some top seeds that won recently. Personally, I think it is better to be a top seed who gets hot. But, I would expect the media to pound that story line a lot because of these three teams. They have nothing to do with the Giants though and so they have very little impact on why the Giants shouldn't be overlooked.
It barely matters:
2007 Giants - 10-6 - 5th Seed - Beat the Super Patriots ending their rein of terror that they had inflicted upon the rest of the league that season. I thank the Giants for it.
If I think the media is going to talk about that other story then I better get ready to hear about this one ad nauseum. This team would be included in the last group except it matters at least a little. There has been a lot of turnover on the Giants team since the 2007 season though. If this had happened last year then this would be a big freaking deal, but it was 4 years ago. It still matters a little because there are some key pieces still on the Giants including the coach and Eli among others. This gives them confidence knowing they can do it again. I would say this is a least a small reason not to look past the Giants.
The things that do matter:
Eli - He had the best year of his career. He is playing great in the playoffs and he has shown he can get on a tear in the postseason.
Well Balanced Team - This team is a good running team. This team is a good passing team. They have a good defense. Great coaching.
Hot Streak - The Giants have won 4 in a row and 5 out of 6. They have basically been playing playoff football since December.
November 13, 2011 - SF-27 - NYG-20 - This was a very good, very close game. It really only came down to a handful of plays. And you could say it came down to one mighty man's arm. Surprisingly it wasn't Eli's arm. Or even Alex's. It was of course Justin Smith. As is the case with a lot of games in the NFL this game could have changed with just a couple of plays going a different way. Eli hits the long pass. Eli's WR doesn't stop running his route resulting in a turnover. Eli doesn't try throwing the same pass 2 times in a row against Los. Ted Ginn keeps his eyes on the ball. Alex changes the play before the KH TD run. The Giants don't drop the coverage on VD's TD. That is just a few of the plays off of the top of my head that could have changed the outcome of the game. There are probably many others.
As 49ers fans we are riding an emotional high right now. We are thinking about Superbowls, the beginning of a dynasty, and a return to the glory years. I don't think anybody could blame us for being excited or for getting ahead of ourselves. It is hard to come down from that high. But before we can get all of those things we are dreaming of we have to face a really tough Giants team that should not be overlooked.