Unlike the earlier game on Sunday between the Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots, the NFC Championship is a contest between two teams that no one predicted. The New York ‘football’ Giants were altogether awful during the first half of the year, battling injuries and posting one of the worst defenses in the league. If the Giants had been torn apart by Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys on the last game of the regular season, their chances of playing any game in the post season would have come to an end in a heartbeat. The San Francisco 49ers, on the other hand, have been absolutely stellar all year, but the reason no one gave them a shot at making the big game was simple: they weren’t supposed to be that good under a first year head coach.
Now that the NFC matchup is a contest of unexpected players, it’s only fair that a few of the key injuries be discussed.
For San Francisco, tight end Delaney Walker is tentatively coming back from a fractured right jaw he received on the night before Christmas (a gift from Santa’s Seahawks). With Walker back in play, quarterback Alex Smith has more options across the middle of the field on first and second down throws. However, for those over-anxious Niners fans, Walker hasn’t been cleared by the medical staff yet. Could be a game time decision.
For New York, linebacker Michael Boley went down with a hamstring injury when his Giants were playing San Francisco on November 13. At the time, New York was playing like an average team with average goals. Boley fell, Niners won. Since that injury, which kept him out for two and a half weeks, Boley has been playing with a chip on his shoulder. Now he wants to bring down Alex Smith and prove that this group of Giants is different than the ones who played San Francisco in November.
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