Here are the staff predictions for this Sunday’s game vs the 49ers out at Candlestick Park. The Niners are favored by 6 1/2 points and the over/under is 44.
Sam Spiegelman: This one is going to have the feel of a playoff game for sure, but right now, San Fran is the more complete team. The Niners are clicking on both offense and defense, and they have the fortunate position of being at home in Candlestick Park — not to mention, they want to avenge their NFC Championship Game loss … badly. The Giants, meanwhile, have had no pass rush to bank on and it’s a question about what kind of performance they can expect out of Hakeem Nicks coming off of multiple injuries. Right now, San Fran looks to be the superior team, but it wouldn’t shock me to see one of the trademark Eli Manning comebacks in the fourth quarter. Prediction: 49ers 23, Giants 20.
Jim Mancari: Expect a game similar to last season’s NFC Championship game. Same teams, same location, and both teams will be coming after each other. The 49ers feel that they were robbed last year based on a few special teams blunders, so they should be ready to play in full force. San Francisco’s defense has been downright stingy the past two weeks, allowing just three total points. However, that was to the Bills and jets, neither of which have Eli Manning at quarterback. It should still be a low-scoring game, but the Giants have to be able to stop the rushing attack of Frank Gore. The defensive front also needs to find a way to pressure Alex Smith, or it could be a long afternoon for the Giants defense. But if Hakeem Nicks plays and Ahmad Bradshaw is even half of what he was against the Browns, the Giants will be in the game the whole way. It might once again come down to a late-game or overtime field goal from wither Lawrence Tynes or David Akers. Prediction: Giants 23, 49ers 21.
Kel Dansby: I’m picking the Giants to shock the NFC and beat the Niners. The Giants always play down to their competition but also play up to competition a few times a year. The Giants are becoming healthier and Eli is poised for a statement game. Prediction: Giants 27, 49ers 24.
John Fennelly, Lead Writer
It looks too easy for the Niners. Nothing is ever that easy. This game will be close. The Giants’ offense is going to be fine. It’s the defense I’m focusing on….the defense needs to key on two players: RB Frank Gore and TE Vernon Davis. If they can keep those two in check, they will most likely win. In the Niners’ loss to the Vikings in Week 3, the Vikes employed a crowded box and held the SF running game to only 89 yards. The Giants may have the front seven to do that with Chase Blackburn leading the charge. Keith Rivers and/or Jacquian Williams will be assigned to Davis. The game will come down to that. Prediction: Giants 29, Niners 24.