Friday, January 20, 2012

49ers v Giants in Playoff History

With the 8th playoff meeting between SF and NYG coming up on Sunday, I've decided to dig into their playoff rivalry. 

1981 Divisional Round
January 3, 1982, Candlestick Park
SF 38 - NY 24

1984 Divisional Round
December 29, 1984, Candlestick Park
SF 21 - NY 10

1985 Wildcard Round
December 29, 1985, Giants Stadium
NY 17 - SF 3

1986 Divisional Round
January 4, 1987, Giants Stadium
NY 49 - SF 3

1990 NFC Championship
January 20, 1991, Candlestick Park
NY 15 - SF 13

1993 Divisional Round
January 15, 1994, Candlestick Park
SF 44 - NY 3

2002 Wildcard Round
January 5, 2003, Candlestick Park
SF 39 - NY 38

2011 NFC Championship
January 22, 2012, Candlestick Park

- They've met 7 times starting in 1981 through 2002, including 3 times in 3 consecutive years ('84-'86).

- No teams will have met more each other more times in the playoffs than the 49ers and the Giants.  The 49ers' 2nd most frequent opponent in playoff history will be of course the Dallas Cowboys (7 times).  However, it surprised me to find that 3 of those times were before 1973.  That's simply because tensions are escalated when 6 of those times were in the NFC championship game.  We played the Vikings and Packers 5 times each and the Bears and Redskins 4 times each.  We haven't faced another NFC team more than once.  Of course, we beat the AFC Bengals twice in the Superbowl.

- Including Sunday, 6 of these games will have been contested at Candlestick.

- 4 times the winner of this rivalry game went on to win the Superbowl (SF '81, '84; NY '86, '90)

- The 49ers currently have the advantage, 4 wins to 3 losses.

- This Sunday will only be the 2nd Conference Championship game between the two.  They've met the most in the Divisional round (4 times) and twice in the Wildcard.

- Obviously the 1990 loss in the NFC Championship was the most painful for 49er fans.  It not only ended the chances for a 3 peat, but it essentially ended Montana's tenure in San Francisco.

As for Sunday's game, most experts and pundits seem to be picking the Giants to win.  I think it must be difficult for the media to pick against a hot NY team because of their East Coast bias.  NY's formidable pass rush and explosive aerial game reminds them too much of NY's 2007 playoff run.  They point to the 49ers needing 5 turnovers and still barely winning.  They thumb their noses at the 49ers defense, who allowed Brees 2 TDs in the last 4 minutes.  Also, they'd much rather a big name QB like Eli Manning (and Tom Brady) be in the SB than a "game-manager" like Alex Smith (or Flacco).  In essence, everyone is rooting for the Giants.

That is absolutely fine.  I love that Harbaugh can tell his team that they are the disrespected underdogs in their own house.  I love that it will be dumping rain from today through gametime.  We can play our style of physical football, at home, with nothing to lose.  I hope we ride Gore all day to the promised land.  I hope our specials teams pins them deep and Akers is accurate.  I hope our run defense lives up to its reputation and forces Manning to throw.  And I hope he's throwing in a freakin' monsoon.

Prediction: 49ers 23 - Giants 20

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