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Jim Harbaugh on Giants: That’s a scary opponent

New York Giants v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

49ers players expressed happiness about the fact that the Giants beat the Packers on Sunday, but their coach was a little bit more measured in his comments.

Jim Harbaugh said he wasn’t rooting for anyone going into the game, cautioning that you should “be careful what you wish for” in such situations. But Harbaugh said that once it was clear that the Giants were playing harder than the Packers, he began rooting for them out of his habit for rooting for the team that’s playing hardest. At any rate, Harbaugh isn’t taking the opponent lightly.

“That’s a formidable opponent,” Harbaugh said, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “That’s a worthy opponent. That’s a scary opponent.”

The 49ers beat the Giants 27-20 at Candlestick earlier this season, but the Giants team right now is a lot better than the one that took the field that Sunday. Their defense is healthier and playing at a much higher level while the rushing offense has been livelier than it was in the first three-quarters of the season. Even without those phases clicking, the Giants had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds before Justin Smith knocked down an Eli Manning pass to seal the victory.

It has all the makings of a tight battle, so you can’t really blame the Niners for wanting to have it on their home field. Whether that’s enough to tip the scales in their favor is something that we’ll all be debating until Sunday evening rolls around.

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62 Responses to “Jim Harbaugh on Giants: That’s a scary opponent”
  1. 11wheatd says: Jan 16, 2012 6:22 PM

    Should be a good game. Just happy the packers aren’t playing

  2. norcalmafia says: Jan 16, 2012 6:24 PM

    Its been a great season for us, not feeling to good about this game..Our defense is elite but our offense still scares me…Gonna need Crabtree to step up big…no way the Giants play him with man coverage..

  3. forever8young says: Jan 16, 2012 6:26 PM

    Jim is absolutely right. Tom Coughlin has done a helluva job with that program. A very worthy opponent indeed. May the best man win.

  4. goniners49 says: Jan 16, 2012 6:29 PM

    Who would have thought the Niners would be playing a home championship game this year. Regardless of the outcome, its hard not to get excited about the future of this team. Two more wins for #6!

    Lets go Niners!!!

  5. daveyjones1 says: Jan 16, 2012 6:30 PM

    As a Giants fan, I couldn’t be happier about playing the Niners. I prefer a game in San Fran over a game in the Superdome any day. Also, it is a big stage for a young team without a lot of recent success. I really like our chances. Hopefully we can get by SF and Baltimore will beat NE.

  6. Stiller43 says: Jan 16, 2012 6:30 PM

    Well, as long as the gints dont turn it over 5 times wrecklessly, they should be alright.

  7. oaktown49er says: Jan 16, 2012 6:30 PM

    It should be a great game, assuming the NFL has no dog in the race with the Saints and Packers out. It is two hard hitting solid defenses. Anyone who can say 100% they know what will happen CLEARLY has not watched either of these teams this year or is a blind homer.

  8. goldrush36 says: Jan 16, 2012 6:32 PM

    Not the same 49ers team either, but strangely Deion Sanders of all people is the only one to point that out. He’s been hating on the 49ers all year until the playoffs started. Gonna be a hell of a game. Might even upstage the divisional game

  9. manureman says: Jan 16, 2012 6:35 PM

    plan your work work your plan 9ers 27-24.

  10. whitecastleisafoodgroup says: Jan 16, 2012 6:35 PM

    This has all the makings of other classic at Candlestick.

  11. nygiants1090 says: Jan 16, 2012 6:35 PM

    should be an awesome game

  12. jessethebody says: Jan 16, 2012 6:36 PM

    Should be a great game. Who ever wins the turnover battle will win the game. It will be nice to see a defensive game for a change in this pass happy league.

  13. mikejd12 says: Jan 16, 2012 6:37 PM

    Of course they would root for the giants to win, they rather play in San Fran the following week instead of going to green bay

  14. kappy32 says: Jan 16, 2012 6:46 PM

    I cannot wait for this game. This game is going to be a knock down, drag out brawl on Sunday. This game reminds me of the great playoff games between the team’s in the 80’s, with the Giants putting an end to the Montana Dynasty in 1990-91 in the NFC CG. Both team’s are deserving, but I’m pulling for my GMen. They’re 4-0 in NFC CG’s & they play their best in the biggest games. I expect a close one, but the Giants squeaking it out.

  15. fissels says: Jan 16, 2012 6:46 PM

    I like Harbaugh. He should get coach of the year

  16. illinininer says: Jan 16, 2012 6:48 PM

    I just hope the officials stay out of the way. Win or lose, I hope this game is muddy and brutally physical.

    I wanna see old-school hits so brutal they make a muddy jersey clean!

  17. ilikesteveyounggirls says: Jan 16, 2012 6:48 PM

    Winner of this game goes on to win the Superbowl… Two best all-around teams left.

  18. emil4423 says: Jan 16, 2012 6:48 PM

    Giants get easy W here all SF can do is 5yard passes mixed in with gore rushing blah blah SF will get exposed

  19. fantom21 says: Jan 16, 2012 6:50 PM

    First to 20 wins.

  20. bigkatt says: Jan 16, 2012 6:54 PM

    Appreciate the class from the Niners’ fans and organization. Its gonna be a battle at the ‘Stick for sure this weekend. May the best team win.

  21. asw1028 says: Jan 16, 2012 6:57 PM

    ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FIELD GOALS?! I’m pretty sure it will be that type of game, Eli has played very well this season but it would be foolish to discount the 49er’s defense, they are so fundamentally sound and they led the league in turnovers. This really has the makings of a great game, I’m excited!

  22. kingcarlbanks says: Jan 16, 2012 7:00 PM

    I am looking forward to a defensive battle and a very tight game. I give Harbaugh alot of respect for turning the Niners around. He has there defense flying to the ball. That being said I like the Giants chances, especially our defense versus there offense. Giants 13 SF 10.

  23. goldrush36 says: Jan 16, 2012 7:02 PM

    I agree this isn’t about not respecting the Giants. They know New York gave them a big fight last time. They simply wanted home field advantage. Whitner said it best. It’s gonna be cold in Green Bay

  24. lilrob10201 says: Jan 16, 2012 7:13 PM

    Can someone explain to me why Giants fans wanted Caughlin fired ?

  25. billyboehemian says: Jan 16, 2012 7:13 PM

    I like both teams, but my head might asplode if I have to hear Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh talk for two weeks.

  26. trseann says: Jan 16, 2012 7:18 PM

    So pumped for this great game! I thought our first game was great and I had nothing but props for San Fran afterwards – they earned it.

    Whoever wins this week will have earned it, too!!

  27. discosucs2005 says: Jan 16, 2012 7:26 PM

    A huge part of this game is going to be pressure on Manning. The Packers got no pressure on Eli, and whether you think he’s “elite” or not (he is), he’s certainly too good, and his WRs are too athletic, to just leave him in the pocket for 3+ seconds.

  28. raidadon says: Jan 16, 2012 7:31 PM

    Be careful what you ask for. G Men look hungry!
    At least you won’t have far to get home!

  29. touchdownroddywhite says: Jan 16, 2012 7:34 PM

    With the exception of the Pats this shows the old adage “Defense wins championships” still holds true despite the ridiculous rule sets helping offenses. Then again if you don’t look at yards allowed, even the Pats are helping to prove that.

  30. armchairqb says: Jan 16, 2012 7:38 PM

    As a Giants fan, I can tell you that I’m feeling the same way about having to face the Niners’ nasty D on the road … scary opponent. This is going to be a smashmouth game, and a good one.

  31. jimboslice208 says: Jan 16, 2012 7:39 PM

    Love the classy comments from both teams fanbase. Here’s to a great game!

    Go niners

  32. polegojim says: Jan 16, 2012 7:39 PM

    I like the Giants in this one… but lets be real…

    … Eli is only ‘Elite’ against bad defenses.

  33. nyfan63 says: Jan 16, 2012 7:42 PM

    Amazing what Harbaugh has done with the 9ers in such a short period of time, especially when you consider the lock-out. That defense is scary good, Aldon Smith is going to be an All-Pro and Justin Smith is just an animal, and great linebackers and a smart secondary. On offense Alex Smith grew up this Saturday and VD and Gore are major weapons. It’s going to take a near-perfect effort from my G-Men to go in there and come out with a W. I think they’ll give it everything they have and I expect this one to be a close, hard-fought classic that could go either way. Looking forward to it!

  34. bamasleeper13 says: Jan 16, 2012 7:55 PM

    Should be a great game! The Giants are peaking at the right time along with the niners. I hope SF wins, it’s been a long time coming for their fans. What a job Harbaugh has done!

  35. woodsidegil says: Jan 16, 2012 8:06 PM

    Long time 49er fan who is excited about this game. I’m delighted that these two teams are playing for the NFC rep in the Super Bowl. Neither are in-your-face, trash-talking organizations like so many others. May the better team win and if it’s the Giants I’ll be rooting for them in the S.B.

  36. ttommytom says: Jan 16, 2012 8:19 PM

    The Niners would be 7 plus points as dogs in Green Bay vs. 3 or so point favorites at home. 10 point swing.

    Is anyone kidding for whom they were rooting for?

  37. rayriceisnice says: Jan 16, 2012 8:28 PM

    Everybody in bmore is rooting for the 49ers, Harbowl II would be awesome.

  38. dougydougdoug says: Jan 16, 2012 8:31 PM

    Harbaugh Bowl, here we come!!! Well, it would have been fun, but I don’t see the Ravens making out alive from Foxborough. The 49ers, on the other hand, would be hard to bet against. That was one ferociously loud fan-base last week, and I would assume it’ll be even more insane for all the NFC marbles.

  39. bigcali4life says: Jan 16, 2012 8:38 PM

    Reading these comments on this thread leads me to still have hope on internet threads. Class from both sides? Respect from both sides as well? Two teams that know how to play also have fan bases that are smart as well.

    I’m pretty sure ESPN, PFT and all the other new sites will try to break this down and give “bold predictions” when in fact this game could go anywhere. It’s just nice to see a game that could be a throwback.

    I want the 49ers to win of course, but much respect to a tough team that New York has.

    The outcome of this weekend could lead to these storylines:
    Giants vs. Ravens: Giants try to get revenge for 2000
    Giants vs. Pats: Brady will have his change to avenge his “perfect season.”
    49ers vs. Ravens: Yeah the Super Harbowl (which will make everyone sick by the end of the first week.)
    49ers vs. Pats: Tom Brady could tie his childhood hero vs his childhood team, who are going for #6.

  40. themonster49 says: Jan 16, 2012 8:39 PM

    Harbowl II lol classic, hopefully the offenses would both have their best game of the year, otherwise…. ‘Lowest combined points total in Superbowl history’ 6-3 or 4-3 hahah.

  41. randygnyc says: Jan 16, 2012 8:41 PM

    Rooting hard for my Big Blue. This 9er team is very well rounded and super tough. It’s going to take some super-human efforts by my Giants to beat them on their home turf.

  42. billb49 says: Jan 16, 2012 9:03 PM

    Both teams have gotten better since their regular season game. The Giants have gotten healthy and the Niners have gotten more aggressive on offense with Alex Smith coming into his own.

    This will be a very tough game for my Niners, but if Rogers, Goldson and Wittner have a game like they did against the Saints, the Niners could win this thing. Who could have imagined that the Niners, with an entirely new coaching staff and no off season, could have gotten this far. But now that they have, they’re hungry. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team hit harder than the Niners did against the Saints. I also sense an abundance of confidence from the Giants. Most of them don’t even seem to be able to imagine losing to these Niners. I’m hoping they’re in for a big shock on Sunday.

  43. therealstats says: Jan 16, 2012 9:12 PM

    1990 NFC Championship Game
    Giants 15 49ers 13 @ San Fran

    2011 NFC Championship Game
    49ers 15 Giants 13 @ San Fran

    Everything evens out, just ask Jerry Seinfeld

  44. ruffbufffire says: Jan 16, 2012 9:19 PM

    Donte whitner will lose the game for you niner fans. He just isnt that good and Eli will pick him apart.

  45. gcsuk says: Jan 16, 2012 9:26 PM

    emil4423 says:
    Jan 16, 2012 6:48 PM
    Giants get easy W here all SF can do is 5yard passes mixed in with gore rushing blah blah SF will get exposed
    ——————————————————-
    I’m a Giants fan, and even I had to “thumbs down” this post. Do I think the Giants can win? Sure I do. But SF is playing great football, and anyone who says otherwise is lying or just plain stupid.

    Glad to see the two coaches are keeping up a level of mutual respect. let’s hope the players can keep the trash talk to a minimum.

  46. hokies34 says: Jan 16, 2012 9:48 PM

    It’s mind boggling how good Carlos rogers has been this year . Just my luck as a skins fan lol

  47. raidersfreak says: Jan 16, 2012 10:11 PM

    I remember when the critic wern’t even talking about these 2 teams. It was the new theme in the NFC to have a super offense and not to worried about the D because the O puts points on the board.

    Now look the 2 most complete teams will be playing roughed football this weekend. They are both tough any of them could be Superbowl champs or contenders. I was watching the Giants of late when I could catch their game I could see them forming. They made it clear to Dallas in week 17, Spanked the falcons, took down the world champs in green bay. and now off to the final battle for the NFC Crown.

    Niners spectacular all season great record not much talk of them either and off to the championship game @ home thanks to the giants.
    Great to see the Niners back in businesses after so many years of dominance only to slip away, and now they are back. Great work by the team and coach harbuagh.

    This is what the fans love 2 real heavy weights fighting for the crown and I can not wait til this weekend. So it is true and will never change, if your a great offense of team or not you better Bring that D.
    Hats off to both these teams and may the best team win. Just hope the zebras don’t ef it up for any team.

  48. briank1ne says: Jan 16, 2012 10:15 PM

    Im sorry to say this giants fans..but i really dont think you have a shot at beating this niners team. They are more diaciplined. And have been all year. They just seem to want it more. And alex smith has so much more to proove. While the giants defense is good. Its not even half of what the niners d is. Its their time. They just have to take it.

  49. ninerfan4life says: Jan 16, 2012 10:23 PM

    Big time Niner Fan for over 30 years…Hoping for a great game sunday, and I’m sure it will be physical….It’s a nice change of pace to see classy giants fans. It was amazing all the trash talking saints fans did on these boards, with no basis. Their argument consisted of Alex sucks and brees is going to destroy the niners…Much respect to the Giants. I’m glad they won just like my Niners to prove that you still need defense and balanced team to win in the playoffs..Was tired of all these arena football teams..Good to see two balanced teams playing good old fashioned smash mouth football. Heres to a good game. GOOOO Niners!!!!

  50. tinkletinkleonyourstar says: Jan 16, 2012 10:36 PM

    as a giants fan the niners scare me more than any other team. the entire season they have had a sick defense and now their offence is looking pretty damn good as well.
    this game will be the two best teams left in the playoffs facing off.
    niners or gmen will win the superbowl.

  51. whatevnfl says: Jan 16, 2012 11:20 PM

    polegojim says:
    Jan 16, 2012 7:39 PM
    I like the Giants in this one… but lets be real…

    … Eli is only ‘Elite’ against bad defenses.

    Tiki, is that you?

  52. gcsuk says: Jan 16, 2012 11:24 PM

    briank1ne says:
    Jan 16, 2012 10:15 PM
    Im sorry to say this giants fans..but i really dont think you have a shot at beating this niners team. They are more diaciplined. And have been all year. They just seem to want it more. And alex smith has so much more to proove. While the giants defense is good. Its not even half of what the niners d is. Its their time. They just have to take it.
    ——————————————————-
    Oh well, I guess somebody had to be “the turd in the punchbowl”. Thank God it’s a Niner fan.

  53. polegojim says: Jan 16, 2012 11:40 PM

    Yes… and I’m still right… ; )

    Let’s get together after the game and see.

    Keep hope alive.

  54. bigbluefan56 says: Jan 16, 2012 11:46 PM

    @ ninerfan4life says:
    Jan 16, 2012 10:23 PM
    Big time Niner Fan for over 30 years…Hoping for a great game sunday, and I’m sure it will be physical….It’s a nice change of pace to see classy giants fans. It was amazing all the trash talking saints fans did on these boards, with no basis. Their argument consisted of Alex sucks and brees is going to destroy the niners…Much respect to the Giants. I’m glad they won just like my Niners to prove that you still need defense and balanced team to win in the playoffs..Was tired of all these arena football teams..Good to see two balanced teams playing good old fashioned smash mouth football. Heres to a good game. GOOOO Niners!!!!

    ===================================

    As a Giants fan I was about to give you a thumbs up until I saw the last sentance!!! Go Big Blue!!!

  55. kylehealy says: Jan 16, 2012 11:55 PM

    I truly believe the two best TEAMS in the NFC will be playing this Sunday. Hats off to both teams and love the respect being shown, for the most part ha.

    As a 49ers fan, I’m not gonna make some stupid comment “49ers are gonna dominate and mess up Eli, easy win 70-0″….honestly, those comments just make you sound like a jackass and that goes for both sides. Look at all the Saint’s fans comments last week and Rex and Rob Ryan’s comments, um well every week. I’ve found that every team/fan that runs their mouth before the game is played, dooms their team.

    Should be an awesome game though. Would be amazing to see the 49ers win, never imagined a season like this would be possible, but if the Giants come away with it I won’t be bitter. May the best team win.

  56. mschurm1 says: Jan 17, 2012 1:37 AM

    Giants fan here. I live in California and went to SF-Giants earlier this year. Everyone says the Giants are better now than they were then, and that is true, but I also think the Niners are as well. You have to be impressed by their win over the Saints – their intensity, the play of Alex Smith, Vernon Davis, etc. This should be a great game.

    It’s supposed to rain for several days in SF starting on Thursday. This will certainly affect the game, but I’m not sure which team it favors.

  57. txnative61 says: Jan 17, 2012 4:28 AM

    If there is an advantage in this game, the Giant players may be a tad overconfident, although Coughlin is a beast when planning a rematch. I’d hate the hype leading up to a Harbowl, but thought during the first Ravens-Niners game that they were two very good, evenly matched teams. I’m also very tired of Boston vs NY, so how about one of each? Don’t really care which.

  58. pete4mtx says: Jan 17, 2012 6:37 AM

    WIN OR LOSE MY NINERS HAVE MADE MOST MONDAYS AT WORK VERY GOOD FOR ME..GIANTS ARE A GREAT TEAM AND THIS WILL B A GREAT GAME…MAY DA BEST TEAM WIN

    GO 49ers!!!!

  59. exhelodrvr says: Jan 17, 2012 8:57 AM

    Should be a great game – I still want revenge for a couple of playoff losses to the Giants from the Montana-Walsh years!

  60. szwhtsup123 says: Jan 17, 2012 9:05 AM

    The Niners are all also a scary opponent – the game they played against NO was incredible. These guys know how to tackle. As Giants fans we got the match up we wanted, now we have to go to SF and deliver the goods. EliteI is on fire and the team is playing as a team. Niners have a great year but the battle tested Giants have overcome too much this year for the Big Blue train to stop. Giants move on the the big game against NE for the rematch and conquer Brady once again!

  61. SOBEIT says: Jan 17, 2012 10:30 AM

    I am so glad to hear the fans from both sides respect each other as opponents. As a Niner fan, it has been an unbelievable year and the game against NO was beyond expectations. I expect the same type of battle against a NY Giants team that is hitting on all cylinders again at the right time.

    But this is going to be a different type of game than the first one. Why? Candlestick is going to rear its ugly side. The team that handles the elements the best will most likely win. Rain, wind, cold, mud and a storied rivalry that goes back decades. Yeah…football fans and especially NY and SF fans are in for a great game!

    Go Niners!!!

  62. packerbadger says: Jan 17, 2012 11:57 AM

    Packers gave the Giants that game much more so than the giants actually won it. Worst game pack played by far all yr, and they were still in it till the very end. 49ers should beat the krap outta giants. To the giants and their fans…..You’re welcome!

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