Sport: The (Surprise!) Game of the Year

The 49ers and the Giants are the N.F.L. matchup to watch

Memo to football fans: forget Super Bowl XXV in Tampa next Jan. 27. The real National Football League game of the year will be in San Francisco's Candlestick Park on Dec. 3, when the defending Super Bowl-champion 49ers collide with the New York Giants. When they met a year ago, the 49ers won 34-24; expectations about the battle to come have been climbing alongside the win-loss statistics of both teams, which have achieved historic heights.

After 10 games, the bicoastal rivals were the first two N.F.L. teams in more than 50 years to have 10-0 records in the same season, the...

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