Hello, fine Big Blue Viewers. As my own Giants aren't doing so well in the National League Divisional Series at the moment, let's get some football talk going to
distract me discuss the upcoming game between the 49ers and the (football) Giants.
These two teams have some recent history, as you may remember. The Giants beat the 49ers in the NFC Championship game, due in part to two Kyle Williams fumbles on punt returns. Unless Ted Ginn miraculously heals this coming week or coach Harbaugh decides to activate LaMichael James, Kyle Williams will be handling PR/KR duties. Make of that what you will.
The 49ers are coming in very hot, in particular against teams from states with New in their names. They defeated your co-tenants, the Jets, and then the Buffalo Bills by a combined score of 79-3. Unfortunately for us, but very, very fortunately for you, the Giants are a much better team than the Jets or the Bills.
While the personnel on the 49ers looks similar to what you saw in the NFC Championship game last year, we're actually a very different team offensively. The additions of Randy Moss and familiar face Mario Manningham have not given the Niners that many tangible gains, as both have been pretty quiet, but they have helped the Niners open up the field, in particular for the running game. The general notion is that the 49ers were a running team last year and are transitioning to a more pass-oriented offense, but that's not true - our running game has driven us this year, and has been much better than last. In fact, Grantland's Bill Barnwell, an analyst who is much smarter than I, wrote a bit about this exact thing. Alex Smith, as well, is proving that last year's success was not a fluke, but in fact was not even his best - he currently leads the league in both passer rating and total QBR, though he is not used as much as, say, Eli Manning. His last game may have been his best ever, as he posted a nearly perfect passer rating of 156.2, a nearly perfect QBR of 99.2, and passed the eye test as well, making many deep throws that he's struggled with in the past. The stats don't even tell the full story, as he had some more big plays called back by penalties.
The defense, on the other hand, is much the same one that you saw last year. All 11 starters are back, and sophomore rusher extraordinaire Aldon Smith has moved into a much more prominent role as a starting outside linebacker, and is handling the added responsibility well.
Now, it's your turn. What questions do you have that your friends on the Left Coast will be able to answer? How do you see the game on Sunday turning out? Please, take me from my (baseball) Giants and midterm induced depression!