Here’s my prediction for the NFC championship game. The Niners are going to beat the New York Giants 31-17 because they have better players and better coaches. Oh, and they have home field advantage, too.
The Giants defensive game plan is going to be too simple. They’re going to commit eight defenders to stopping Frank Gore and the inside run game, and then they’re going to double cover Vernon Davis in the pass game. That will be their entire focus.
The Niners coaches are too creative to lose to such a reductionist strategy. They’ll bring back what they dabbled with earlier in the year – passes to unlikely playmakers like backup running back Kendall Hunter, fullback Bruce Miller and left tackle Joe Staley.
The Giants ferocious defensive line only sacked Alex Smith two times back in Week 10. The young Niners offensive line has improved since then, and they should be able to hold the Giants pass rushers in check once again.
The Giants offensive line will not be able to hold their own, however, against the Niners D-line. The left side of their O-line is not good enough to handle Justin and Aldon Smith, and this will be apparent on the first series of the game. If the two Smiths hit Drew Brees nine times last week, they’re going to hit Eli Manning more than ten times on Sunday.
The Giants tailback Ahmad Bradshaw, who did not play against the Niners back in Week 10, will not be a factor in this game, no matter how healthy he is. The Niners will neutralize him with their front seven.
The Niners are the best team in the NFL. They’re not going to lose to a seven-loss team. I will be shocked if they don’t win this one fairly easily.