(By Daisy Barringer)

There's been a lot of talk in mainstream media this week about the San Francisco 49ers for the first time in, like, forever. ("In, like, forever" is just one example as to why it's an atrocity that I'll be paying off my graduate school student loans until the year 2047. In case you were wondering.)

Alex Smith was named an "elite" quarterback. By, uh, his head coach.

Regardless of whether or not you believe Smith is one of the elite, it is true that he is one of the NFL's most "efficient" quarterback. Not quite as glamorous, but still.

ESPN’s John Clayton gave the 49ers an A on his NFL midseason report card. (Seattle got a D, Arizona failed with an F, as did St. Louis.)

Of course not everyone is ready to praise the Niners. ESPN’s KC Joyner called them "the ultimate playoff pretender." I call KC Joyner "Scrooge." (But only because I suspect Brock would like me to limit my cussing.)

Giants DE Justin Tuck said the 49ers are just asking Alex Smith "not to lose the

And last, but not least, the Giants were asked if it would be a "letdown" if they lost against the 49ers. Since when is losing to a 7-1 team A LETDOWN?

Basically, the 49ers are 7-1, which has people talking. But 7-1 isn’t enough. Winning four games on the road isn’t enough. Beating the previously undefeated Lions, coming back against Philadelphia, beating Tampa Bay by 45 points? NOT ENOUGH. Every week it seems people are saying, "Well if the 49ers win this week, then they're for real." And then the Niners win. And it’s just not enough.

So, even though we’re 7-1 and have one of the best defenses in the NFL, Sunday's game against the 6-2 NY Giants is being labeled as measuring-stick game. Because being the second best in the NFL isn’t a good enough measurement, apparently.

So let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the rest of it to see if the 49ers have what it takes to beat the Giants.

The Bad:

>> Frank Gore. He says he’s healthy. Hopefully he is. The Niners cannot win without the run.

>> Eli Manning. The guy is good and has been carrying the team.

>> Are the 49ers too confident? Also, if that’s the only thing I can come up with
under "The Bad," then…well…wow.

The Good:

>> The Giants will be without Ahmad Bradshaw, their starting running back. (Foot injury.)

>> The Giants ALREADY couldn’t run the ball. Our defense just needs to also stop the pass.

>> Alex Smith has the lowest percentage of pass attempts resulting in INTs of passes defended. Yup, that’s right. Lower than golden boy Aaron Rodgers. (Fine, we’re also dead last in the NFL for pass attempts, but whatever. Stats don’t like. Do they?)

>> Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman: yes, please!

>> Home field advantage. MAKE SOME NOISE. And yes, I’m going to stand. Just try and stop me.

The Rest Of It:

>> This game could very well be a fight for a first round bye in the NFC playoffs. Yikes.

>> I think Akers (K) is going to be key in this game.

>> We have momentum. But so do they.

>> This is really anyone’s game to lose.

I’m not confident. But I think the Niners can pull this one off. They just need to keep doing what they’ve been doing. And go from there.

Watch San Francisco vs. the NY Giants at 1:15 p.m. on Fox 2.