49ers Vs. Giants, 2012 NFC Championship Game: So What's The Catch? NY Receivers Present Tough Test

The San Francisco 49ers have been without who many believe to be their best wide receiver since early on in the season, and because of that, any particular matchup this season between them and another team's crop of receivers has given their opponents a clear win. Joshua Morgan is that guy, and without him, the current group is Michael Crabtree, Kyle Williams, Ted Ginn Jr., Brett Swain and Joe Hastings.

They're up against Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham, and listing the rest of the team really isn't necessary at this point. Even with Vernon Davis added, it's hard to pick against the dynamic receiving options the Giants possess. When you think of the Saints, you think of an offense that finds ways to beat you consistently, on the back of quarterback Drew Brees.

And though Eli Manning has played his way into the very elite of quarterbacks this season, you could also say that his level of play is elevated due to the fantastic talents of the guys catching the ball. While the 49ers did their best to get to Brees and bring him down so he can't get the ball to his receivers, Manning will put the ball in the air and trust his guys to snatch it away, whether he's standing in a pocket or flat on his face by the time the ball gets there.

You can't really say the same for Alex Smith and the 49ers. While Smith has taken more shots and Davis has become a reliable target, it's not the kind of situation where Manning just lobs it up for Nicks to make a great catch-and-run for a big touchdown. At least, it's not like that consistently. Since the first time these two teams played, the Giants group of receivers have added highlight after highlight to their resume.

It'll be the biggest test for San Francisco - stopping those receivers. That's one position the Giants are just about indisputably better by a solid margin. But then again, Brees was indisputably better than Alex by a solid margin, wasn't he?

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