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NFC championship coming back to the ‘Stick

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Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) celebrates at Candlestick Park on Saturday. The NFC championship game will be held Jan. 22 at the 'Stick against the New York Giants.

For the first time since January of 1998, the NFC championship game will be returning to Candlestick Park.

The 49ers will host the New York Giants, who knocked off the defending champion Green Bay Packers 37-20 on Sunday, on Jan. 22 for the right to go to the Super Bowl.

The 49ers are the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs, while the Giants are the No. 4 seed.

The Niners locked up their spot in the NFC championship when Alex Smith hit Vernon Davis for a 14-yard touchdown pass with nine seconds to play Saturday to cap off a thrilling 36-32 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

The 49ers and Giants met during the regular season, with San Francisco pulling out a close 27-20 victory on Nov. 13 at Candlestick. The Giants led the game 13-12 in the fourth quarter, before the Niners came on late.

The 49ers are 14-14 against the Giants all-time and 4-3 in the playoffs.

The last time the two teams met in the postseason it was a wild one. In January 2003, the 49ers trailed 38-14 in the second half before Jeff Garcia led San Francisco to an improbable 39-38 victory that is remembered most for the Giants’ botched field-goal attempt on the final play that could have won it for New York.

The NFC championship is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.  and can be seen on Fox. The winner will meet the AFC champion in the Super Bowl on Feb. 5 in Indianapolis.

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