One common topic here and with the players has been the idea that there could be some additional motivation in this game. The 49ers loss to the Giants in last year's NFC Championship Game remains in the minds of many. Some of the players have mentioned this idea of unfinished business. I know plenty of people are fired up for this game, as seen in particular in the post about what this game means.
I was curious about how the revenge factor can play out, and it turns out somebody else had a similar thought. Over at National Football Post, Joe Fortenbaugh put together a look at whether revenge really matters in terms of the gambling lines. He focused in on this question: if a team gets knocked out of the playoffs by an opponent one year, do they bounce back with a win (and/or cover) the following year if that same opponent appears on the schedule?
For our purposes, winning is really all that matters. Whether the 49ers win by one point or twenty points, a win is a win is a win. Nonetheless, I find these kinds of things interesting just from a pure numbers standpoint.
Fortenbaugh looked back at the 67 "revenge" games that have taken place since 2002. Generally speaking, the numbers do not indicate revenge to be a big factor. This season, three revenge games resulted in the team seeking revenge failing to cover the spread.
In looking at these 67 games, teams out for revenge are 37-30 straight up and 30-32-5 against the spread. Home teams out for revenge are 20-13 straight up and 17-14-2 against the spread. More importantly for our purposes, home favorites "out for revenge" were 14-5 straight up and 10-7-2 against the spread.
All that really matters is that straight up number. As long as the 49ers can pull out a victory, I really don't care how many points they win by. There would certainly be something fun about seeing them beat down the