For Giants, 49ers, Getting What You Want Doesn't Always Work Out - NBC Bay Area
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For Giants, 49ers, Getting What You Want Doesn't Always Work Out

49ers, Giants got the matchup they wanted, but is it the one they needed?



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    When the NFC Championship Game reaches its end on Sunday night, there's going to be one team left with a newfound respect of Mick Jagger.

    Yeah, that Mick Jagger. The words of a man who thinks football is played with a soccer ball are going to resonate with the loser of Sunday night's game. Which words? 

    You can't always get what you want, but, if you try sometime, you just might find you get what you need.

    Both the Giants and the 49ers got what they wanted this weekend. Not their wins, mind you. While they obviously wanted victory, they also needed victory in order to continue their season. No, we're talking about both teams getting what they wanted in the other matchup of the weekend.

    Although players like Antrel Rolle aren't shy about sharing their belief that the Giants can't lose, the team was apparently petrified of a rematch with the Saints in New Orleans.

    "It definitely works out in our favor a little bit that we're able to get San Francisco as opposed to New Orleans, just because of how we feel about them, and we understand that we have a good chance of winning that game," Victor Cruz said to Newsday

    The Niners, meanwhile, spent Sunday rooting hard for the Giants because they didn't want to travel to Green Bay for a date with the Packers in the NFC Championship Game. Unlike the Giants, they steered clear of any explicit suggestion that it was because they thought it would be easier to win the game, but it was pretty well implied. 

    It is easy to understand the rationale on both sides, but that doesn't mean that it is easy to agree with it.

    In the 49ers, the Giants get an opponent that can run the ball very well as opposed to a Saints team that lives and dies by the pass. For a team that is far better rushing the passer than stopping the run, that's not an ideal matchup, especially once Pierre Thomas got hurt for the Saints. Beyond that, the Saints are a worse defensive team than the 49ers and rely on a blitz that would offer great chances down the field for Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.

    We realize that the Saints blew out the Giants earlier this season, but the Giants defense is healthier and the first two rounds of the playoffs made it clear that the Saints weren't operating at quite as high a level. Drew Brees threw for a ton of yards, but the Saints kept turning the ball over and the 49ers simply don't do that.

    On the other side, the 49ers chose to root for a team that's clearly playing its best football of the season over a team that obviously peaked before the start of the postseason. They chose to root for the team with the better defense, which doesn't make much sense given how much of the 49ers' success springs from their own defensive efforts.

    While no one without cheese on their head actually wants to spend time in Green Bay come this time of year, the 49ers' physicality would have been a much bigger problem for the Packers than it will be for the Giants. They won't be able to outmuscle the Giants, and they won't get any zero blitzes to help them throw the ball downfield because the Giants don't need to blitz to create pressure.

    There are things to like about the matchup on both sides as well, but there aren't many easily exploited mismatches on either side. That should work out very well for those of us watching the game, but it's obviously not going to work out for both the Giants and the 49ers.

    Bringing it back to Mick, both teams got what they wanted. Only one is going to wind up with what they need, though, and that's sure to make one of the two teams reconsider Jagger's advice when they start making big plans for the future.