New York Giants @ San Francisco 49ers Predictions & Analysis 1/22/12

Last Updated: January 17th, 2012 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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For the second time this year, the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers are going to square off against one another, and the action should be intense. Here are the keys to the game for the NFC Championship Game, complete with our Giants vs. 49ers predictions and odds analysis.

NFC Championship Matchup: New York Giants vs. San Francisco 49ers
Giants vs. 49ers Location: Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA
Giants vs. 49ers Date/Time: Sunday, January 22nd, 6:30 p.m.
Giants vs. 49ers Television Coverage: FOX

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Key #1: The Giants have to take care of the football
It really seems as though the Giants keep good care of the pigskin when they are at their best. QB Eli Manning was picked off 16 times this season, including twice in the first go around between these two teams. That being said, the day that Manning had against the Green Bay Packers last week was remarkable. Sure, he threw that one INT on the day, but he also threw for three TDs and did a great job spreading the football all over the field. Green Bay might have had the worst ranked pass defense in the league, but it also led the league in forcing turnovers. San Fran played a game a lot like that against the New Orleans Saints last week. The Saints had almost 500 yards of total offense, but they turned the ball over five times in the teeth of a San Francisco defense that didn’t play nearly as badly as it seemed on the scoreboard. The 49ers have a nasty, nasty defense, and they picked off Manning twice in the first meeting of these two teams. That’s why the Giants were beaten by a TD the last time around.

Giants @ 49ers Odds at Wager Web Sportsbook
New York Giants +1
San Francisco 49ers -1
Over/Under 41.5
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Key #2: The 49ers need to keep their attitude and their swagger
The 49ers have had a certain aura around them all season long. No one has really believed in them, and you can see that on the NFL betting lines as well. They were 1.5 point dogs against the Cincinnati Bengals, 9.5 point pups against the Philadelphia Eagles on the road, were just 2.5 point favorites at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers… and the list goes on a on. Even last week against the Saints, they were catching 3.5 from the oddsmakers. That’s why San Francisco isn’t just a great SU team, but is a team that has 13 covers on the season including the playoffs as well. Head Coach Jim Harbaugh came to the Bay Area and was determined to make his team nastier on both sides of the ball. It was about working harder and believing that they deserved to beat the team on the other side of the field because of it. We tend to think that that attitude would have looked a heck of a lot better at Lambeau Field than at home against the Giants, as San Francisco is favored in this game and is largely expected to win. As long as that swagger that the Niners deserve to be here, they should be fine, but if they lose that swagger, they could be in some trouble against a New York team that is thriving off of the fact that few figure that it has the capability to win the Super Bowl for the second time under Head Coach Tom Coughlin.


Key #3: Alex Smith doesn’t have to be better than Manning, but he has to not be significantly worse
This has been the “Year of the Quarterback” in the NFL. Names like Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers, and Ben Roethlisberger are all out of the playoffs, while Smith is still here in the NFL’s version of the “Final Four.” He didn’t always run a pretty pass offense, as the 49ers only ranked No. 29 in the league in passing at 183.1 yards per game through the air. However, what Smith did this year was believe in himself, believe in his receivers, and take care of the football. What we saw last week is that he has the ability to win games if he needs to, as he stood toe to toe with Brees and the best offense, maybe in the history of the league. That being said, we don’t think that he has to do that again this week against the G-Men, but he can’t be significantly worse than Manning if the team is going to win this one.

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Posted in NFL Football - Last Updated on Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 @ 5:05 am (EST)
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