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New York Giants Face San Francisco 49ers in NFC Championship Game

Justin Smith, San Francisco 49ersThe New York Giants have travelled to Candlestick Park already this year. The Niners were a -3.5 point NFL betting favorite, and they won and covered by 27-20.

This weekend, despite its epic win over New Orleans last Sunday, San Francisco has lost a point against the Giants, and on a -2.5 line against the NFC East Champions.

The reason why is because while the Niners were turning over the Saints, the Giants were cutting the Packers to ribbons on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. This is the second time in four years that the Giants have gone to Lambeau as sports betting underdogs and come away with the Packers’ heads on sticks. That gets bettors’ attention.

The Giants have been successful for three reasons. The first is the that they fought their way out of a typical second-half slump with a win over the Jets at the Meadowlands in early December, and good things have happened since.

The second reason is that the Giants defense has returned to full strength and the Giants D, specifically the defense line, is as good as any line in the League on its day.

But the biggest reason the Giants are sixty minutes away from a return to the Super Bowl is because of quarterback Eli Manning. Eli was in the shadow of Peyton for so long that he’s been underrated as a quarterback but there is a now a chance that he could have two rings where Peyton will only have one, and nobody saw that one coming.

The San Francisco 49ers, of course, will have something to say about that. Good times are back in San Francisco after a long period in the wilderness, and they’re enjoying it every moment – the San Francisco City Hall was lit with red and gold spotlights during the week to celebrate the Niners return to the big time.

But whereas the great 49er teams of the 1980s and 1990s were built on offense, Jim Harbaugh’s team is built on its defense. Alex Smith was Montana-esque in the last five minutes of the game against New Orleans, but it was the 49er defense that put him a position to be the hero.

Drew Brees had time all during the game but he could not find open receivers. The 49ers were all over the Saints like a cheap suit. If the 49ers can repeat that performance they’re back in the Super Bowl for the first time since 1995. If not, the Giants are back in the Super Bowl, just like Eli said they would be at the start of the season.

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