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Dare to look ahead at the 49ers?

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith crosses the

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith crosses the goal line for a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints in the fourth quarter. (Jan. 14, 2012) Credit: AP

Here's a peek at the previous playoff meetings betweeen the Giants and 49ers, many of which have been pretty dramatic and most of which COULD come up in conversation this week:

49ers 38, Giants 24
Jan. 3, 1982 – Candlestick Park

In his first ever playoff game, Joe Montana completed 20 of 31 passes for 304 yards and two touchdowns for the top-seeded 49ers. The No. 5 Giants had beaten the Eagles in a wild card game in their first postseason appearance of the Super Bowl era. Dwight Clark caught five passes for 104 yards. After falling behind 24-10, the Giants cut it to 24-17 but Bill Ring scored on a 3-yard run and Ronnie Lott returned an interception off Scott Brunner 20 yards for a touchdown. The 49ers went on to win the Super Bowl.

49ers 21, Giants 10
Dec. 29, 1984 – Candlestick Park

For the second time the Giants’ playoffs ended in San Francisco. This time Montana threw two touchdown passes in the first seven minutes of the game and three in the first half. The Giants did not score an offensive touchdown and had to settle for a 46-yard field goal by Ali Haji-Sheikh. Their only touchdown came on Harry Carson’s 14-yard interception return. The 49ers went on to win another Super Bowl.

Giants 17, 49ers 3
Dec. 29, 1985 – Giants Stadium

It was almost the first ever playoff game at Giants Stadium, but the Jets had hosted the Patriots and lost there the previous day in the AFC wild card game. So the Giants had to settle for getting the first home playoff win, and their first home playoff game since 1962. Joe Morris ran for 141 yards, Phil Simms threw two touchdown passes and the Giants won their first postseason home game since 1962. Jim Burt had two sacks on Joe Montana as the defense held the 49ers to only a field goal despite allowing 362 yards of offense. The Giants were blanked by the Bears, 21-0, the following week.

Giants 49, 49ers 3
Jan. 4, 1987 – Giants Stadium

Jim Burt knocked Joe Montana unconscious and Lawrence Taylor returned an interception 34 yards on the same play, a microcosm of the Giants’ physical and athletic defense. They also got lucky. In the first quarter Jerry Rice seemed to be breaking away for a 50-yard touchdown but fumbled the ball near the goal line without being touched. The Giants recovered for a touchback and drove 80 yards to take a 7-0 lead on 24-yard pass from Simms to Mark Bavaro. Simms completed just 9 passes but 4 of them were touchdowns and he sat out the fourth quarter. The Giants went on to win their first Super Bowl.

Giants 14, 49ers 13
Jan. 20, 1991 – Candlestick Park

The 49ers were looking for a third straight Super Bowl title but the Giants defense was able to contain them with a strong defense highlighted by Erik Howard’s jarring hit on Roger Craig that forced a fumble which was recovered by Lawrence Taylor – and helped set up the game-winning field goal – and a sack by Leonard Marshall that knocked Joe Montana out of the game. Matt Bahr kicked five field goals to account for all of the Giants’ points. Gary Reasons ran 30 yards on a fake punt to set up the field goal that closed the gap to 13-12 in the fourth quarter. The following week the Giants won their second Super Bowl.

49ers 44, Giants 3
Jan. 15, 1994 – Candlestick Park

After allowing just seven rushing touchdowns all season, the Giants couldn’t stop Ricky Watters from running for five touchdowns and setting a single-game postseason record. Watters finished with 118 yards on 24 carries while Giants running back Rodney Hampton had only 12 rushing yards. The 44 points were the most ever allowed by the Giants in a postseason game and afterwards Lawrence Taylor announced his retirement.

49ers 39, Giants 38
Jan. 5, 2003 – Candlestick Park

The game that put the wild in the wild card and made every Giants fan cringe at the name Trey Junkin. The Giants led 38-14 with 4:27 left in the third quarter after four touchdown passes from Kerry Collins – three of them to Amani Toomer. Jeff Garcia forged a comeback and with exactly 1:00 remaining hit Tai Streets for a 13-yard touchdown that gave the 49ers a 1-point lead. They failed on a two-point conversion. Delvin Joyce returned the ensuing kickoff 32 yards and the Giants drove to the 49ers’ 23 where Matt Bryant was lining up a 41-yard game-winning field goal attempt. Junkin’s snap was low and wide and holder Matt Allen tried to throw a desperation pass to Rich Seubert in the end zone that fell incomplete. The Giants wanted a flag for pass interference by Chike Okeafor on Seubert but did not get one and the game ended.

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