49ers Vs. Giants, 2012 NFC Championship Game: A Healthy Pass Rush?

As the 49ers get ready for Sunday's matchup against the New York Giants, one of the big issues will be the Giants pass rush. The Giants tied for third in the NFL with 48 sacks during the regular season and are second in the postseason with six sacks (albeit thanks to an extra playoff game).

Although the Giants don't bring a ton of heavy blitzes, their front four is among the best in the league at getting pressure on the quarterback. Jason Pierre-Paul has been the big name this year with 16.5 sacks, but they bring guys like Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck as well, creating a solid wall of pass rush.

When the 49ers and Giants last played, the 49ers offensive line did a fairly solid job, giving up two sacks and four hits on Alex Smith. It wasn't fantastic, but it came in under both Smith's average and the Giants average. I consider it a matter of "containment" versus "stopping." It is worth noting that Osi Umenyiora was a bit banged up for that game and is banged up again this week, but I don't imagine that will slow him down. He is dealing with some ankle and knee issues, but has been able to participate in practice. Justin Tuck has been a bit limited this week as well, but we'll see him on the field as well.

The Saints got some significant pressure on Alex Smith, but the offensive line and the running backs held up late when it mattered most in pass protection. This will be one of the most significant battles of the day with Anthony Davis likely getting the bulk of it on the right side. Although Anthony Davis has had his share of inconsistencies, he has improved his game this year in pass blocking. He's got enough of a nasty streak that it will hopefully help him continue to improve in that facet of his game. This weekend will definitely be a benchmark for him.

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