Giants vs. 49ers: 3 things to watch

The Giants head west to face the NFC West champion Niners in the NFC Championship game. Metro gives you three things to watch out for in Sunday’s game.

1. Know which way the wind blows

The weatherperson might be the most watched individual in the Bay Area this week. Sunday’s forecast for San Francisco is for temperatures in the mid-50s with a chance of showers. And leading up to opening kickoff it’s being reported that it should rain off and on all week. That makes for sloppy conditions, which could heavily favor the Niners. Candlestick Park is already below sea level so any extra water benefits the team with the superior ground game and run-blockers. If it turns into a muddy affair that means a whole lot of 49ers running back Frank Gore (1,211 yards, 4.3 yards per carry and eight rushing touchdowns in the regular season).   

2. Feelin’ fine

The Giants are getting healthy at the right time, as players like linebacker Michael Boley and defensive end Osi Umenyiora didn’t play in the regular season matchup. But it should be noted that Gore didn’t play much either, as he was knocked out in the first half with a knee injury and didn’t play in the second half. When he did play, however, Gore was a non-factor (six rushing yards). Whichever team imposes its will and wins the game of attrition in what should be a physical game goes a long way into deciding the winner.    

3. Top of the heap

This is just the second time since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger that two former No. 1-overall draft picks at quarterback face off in the conference championship game. Giants quarterback Eli Manning (No. 1 in 2004) and Niners quarterback Alex Smith (No. 1 in 2005) will most certainly have huge roles in their team’s fortunes. While Manning has finally entered the elite stratosphere with his career year this season, Smith has just finally started to shake loose his bust label. If it turns into a shootout, Manning has the decided edge, but Smith showed last week in out-dueling Drew Brees that he’s capable at keeping defenses honest and not allowing them to solely key on Gore.

Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

National

New Hampshire moves to decriminalize adultery

For the first time in hundreds of years, it's about to be legal to cheat on your spouse in New Hampshire.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Music

Both feet on the ground with Aimee Mann…

What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both. “There…

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.