Giants Vs. 49ers 2012: QBs Eli Manning And Alex Smith Are Key

The San Francisco 49ers are hosting the New York Giants in Sunday's NFC Championship game and after winning 14 of 17 games this season, you can doubt them at your own risk. The 49ers are a legitimate matchup for the Giants, who were in this situation four years ago.

The Giants advanced to (and won) the Super Bowl that year and I've predicted they'll do the same on Sunday night in San Francisco. But not everyone is picking the Giants to win. SB Nation's 49ers blog, Niners Nation, thinks San Francisco can win (and predicts they will). We asked Niners Nation why the 49ers are capable of winning this game and why they can blow it.

Why 49ers will win: The 49ers will beat the Giants if they are able to get a consistent pass rush against Eli Manning on defense, and hold off the Giants pass rush on offense. Eli Manning had all day to pass against the Packers and no secondary can withstand that. On the other side, the 49ers offense needs to give Alex Smith time to find his receivers. When he is getting run over, it does not end well.

Why the 49ers will lose: Alex Smith struggles with his normal ability to protect the ball. He throws one or two costly picks after avoiding those mistakes all season and the 49ers defense is unable to force Eli into mistakes. If the Giants win the turnover battle, there is a pretty good chance they win this game.

For updates and analysis on these teams leading up to their matchup, visit 49ers blog Niners Nation, Giants blog Big Blue View and SB Nation New York and SB Nation Bay Area. Don't forget to check out SB Nation's NFL hub for all your playoff news.

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