Tom Coughlin: Giants are underdog

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tom Coughlin and the New York Giants have seen the eye-popping numbers the San Francisco 49ers have put up recently.

And Coughlin believes that not many are giving the defending world champions a chance to win an NFC Championship Game rematch in San Francisco on Sunday.

"Nobody gives us a chance to win," Coughlin said when asked about how many consider the 49ers a favorite to win the NFC. "We'll see."

When asked to elaborate, Coughlin said, "I just sense it."

"Why do I think they feel that way? Probably because [people] think that the other team is playing very well," he said.

San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh replied, "Yeah, I think that is probably an exaggeration."

The Giants split with the 49ers in San Francisco last season, losing 27-20 in mid-November but winning in the playoffs when a trip to the Super Bowl was at stake -- 20-17 in overtime.

San Francisco's Kyle Williams is looking forward to the rematch. Williams fumbled twice on punt returns that helped the Giants pull out the win.

"There's a few teams that I look forward to. Of course after what happened last year, I definitely want to get back at these guys," Williams said on Tuesday. "We look at it as if they have something that we should have had. We're going to make sure we don't leave anything on the field again."

Coughlin replied, "It's a new year. It's a new time. Two new teams. We earned everything we got last year."

Harbaugh was asked if there is any statement that could be made on Sunday by one of the NFC powers.

"Uh, like a quote or a statement or a document or a manifesto?" Harbaugh asked on a conference call with New York reporters.

The 49ers (4-1) certainly made improvements in the offseason in an attempt to get to the Super Bowl, adding former Giants Mario Manningham and Brandon Jacobs, as well as Randy Moss on offense. San Francisco has won its past two games, against the Jets and Bills, by a combined 79-3 score and owns the league's second-ranked defense and top-ranked rushing attack.

The Niners are the hot NFC team with a lot of hype surrounding them.

"Yes, they are," Giants tackle Will Beatty said. "But they haven't played us yet."

The Giants enter the game with the league's second-best offense. And much like the Niners, who scored 45 points on Sunday, the Giants are coming off a 41-point outing in their win over Cleveland.

"You see it," Giants center and former 49ers player David Baas said of the big numbers San Francisco has put up. "But we scored 41 points, too, so we are not going to think, 'Whoa,' [and] like, sit back there and think they're the almighty. You know what I mean? We know we have a good team, too. We know it is going to be a battle, and we got to get prepared."

Coughlin admits to playing the underdog card and using it as a motivational ploy for Week 6.

"It's basically how it goes for us every year," wide receiver Victor Cruz said. "Nobody picks us to win. We've always got our backs against the wall, which is I guess in a sense how we like to play. It really brings out the best in us, so we're fine with that."

The Giants typically tend to play their best when on the road in a hostile environment when they are considered to be the underdog.

They spent a lot of time on Wednesday praising the 49ers. But make no mistake, this is clearly a game they are looking forward to.

"When have we lacked confidence?" defensive end Justin Tuck said. "Somebody just said we are still Super Bowl champions. We relish the opportunity to play great teams. And San Francisco is that. One of the quotes that we read today was about the greater the obstacle, the greater the opportunity. So we are looking forward to the opportunity."