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Verbal Sparks Add to Anticipation of Giants-49ers

It should be a hot one on Sunday afternoon

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    Hostilities are renewed this Sunday.

    There wasn't much need to add to the anticipation of Sunday's game between the Giants and the 49ers.

    The two teams split a pair of tight games last season with the Giants taking the more important one to advance to the Super Bowl. They are well matched on the field, well coached off of it and as deep and talented as any teams in the league right now.

    Lots of promise to that scenario without any additional buildup, right? The Niners and Giants didn't really seem to think so. 

    Earlier this week you had Tom Coughlin laying down the nobody believes in us card earlier in a season than at any other point in recorded history and Jim Harbaugh saying that he's urging his team to stay paranoid in a pair of first-class press conference performances. There was also a little bit of yapping about salsa dancing between Victor Cruz and 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers until Rogers said he would refrain from mocking Cruz sbout it out of respect for Cruz's late grandmother. 

    We've got $600 for anyone who thought they'd ever hear that in relation to a football game. Things didn't stop there, though. 

    In the process of discussing how good 49ers defensive end Justin Smith is, Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said that Smith "gets away with murder" by holding offensive linemen without drawing penalty flags. That led to a response from Harbaugh that was volcanic in both content and entertainment value. 

    "Kevin Gilbride’s outrageous, irrational statement regarding Justin Smith’s play is, first, an absurd analogy. Second, it is an incendiary comment targeting one of the truly exemplary players in this league,” Harbaugh said on Friday, via Tom Rock of Newsday. “It’s obvious that the Giants coaching staff’s sole purpose is to use their high visibility to both criticize and influence officiating."

    When does Sunday get here? 

    On talent alone, this game is as good as it gets this season. Add in bubbling resentment from the Niners, the perpetually aggrieved status of the Giants and the past handshake hinjinx for both coaches and things are even more exciting. 

    Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.