NFC Championship: Underdog fight

  • Alex Smith escapes pressure while his offensive line holds off the Giants defense. The San Francisco 49ers beat the N.Y. Giants 27-20 on Sunday, November 13, 2011.

SANTA CLARA — The 49ers aren't all that good. The Giants might be worse. Both teams are lucky to be where they are — paired in the NFC championship game, each of them one step away from the Super Bowl. Both are deeply flawed, and we can think of several other NFC teams that would be worthier contestants.

Nobody actually believes any of that, of course. But hey, why mess with the message at this point? These guys are on a roll.

"We know that they put a question mark on us at the beginning of the season, but that's what guided us forward through it," Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks said last week.

"When you doubt us, we look forward to stepping up to the challenge, and I feel like we've been doing that all season."

Three-thousand miles away, 49ers right tackle Anthony Davis was in perfect harmony with Nicks.

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