Giants (1-7) vs San Francisco (2-7)
The San Francisco 49ers
last played in a Thursday night game with the Oakland Raiders. Both teams had
only one win on the season, and the Niners were favored to win at home and get
their second. They did so in a big way, overwhelming the Raiders 34-3.
the bye week, the Giants played against the Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium.
They kept the game close up until the fourth quarter, and disappointed the home
crowd while taking a 20-13 loss.
- Redskins Wrap-Up
Things haven't gone well
for the Niners since 2013 when Jim Harbaugh led his team to the playoffs for the
third consecutive time. They lost the NFC title game to the Seattle Seahawks who
went on to win the Super Bowl. The following year, Harbaugh and the Niners parted
ways after an 8-8 season. His replacement, Jim Tomsula, was fired after turning
in a 5–11 season. Chip Kelly took over in 2016, and was gone after going 2-14.
That brings us to Kyle Shanahan, who lost 9 straight in 2017, before winning his
first game, of course against the Giants. The team finished up with a 6-10 record
and with high hopes for 2018.
Alex Smith was with the Niners for five years
when Harbaugh first took over. Smith was injured in 2012, and Colin Kaepernick
replaced him. They traded Smith to Kansas City and Kaepernick became the starting
quarterback for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. In 2015, the Niners were 2-6 and Blaine
Gabbert became the starter, with Kaepernick missing the rest of the season with
an injured left shoulder.
The following year, Gabbert started and was 1-4
when Kelly switched back to Kaepernick who went 1-10 as the starter. Last year
Brian Hoyer signed a two-year contract with the Niners, and started the first
six games of the season (0-6). C. J. Beathard took over and Hoyer was released
when San Francisco acquired Jimmy Garoppolo in a trade with New England. Garoppolo
started in the last five games which were all wins, and he was 1-2 suffering a
torn ACL in the last one. Beathard was back in for five straight losses before
hurting his wrist, and third stringer Nick Mullens started against Oakland last
game and turned in an outstanding performance.
Francisco 49ers Offense
Nick Mullens exploded in his surprisingly powerful debut for the Niners. His performance
was nothing short of remarkable. He was subbing for C.J. Beathard, who had a wrist
injury. Mullens threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns, and had a 151.9 rating,
for the highest rating for any quarterback in his NFL debut since 1970. Mullens
spent time on the practice squad for two years, and made the most of his starting
opportunity. Second year tight end George Kittle is by far the top receiver on
this team with 41 receptions for 692 yards.
That's 177 more yards on two less
receptions than he had in his full rookie year. Pierre Garcon, the second leading
receiver, trails him by 17 receptions, and he has been ruled out for this game
with knee issues. Although the Niners have given up 31 sacks, they are a good
run blocking offensive line. Matt Breida, in his second year, is the team leader
with 96 carries for 531 yards and 2 touchdowns, and Alfred Morris is next, running
for 294 yards on 84 carries with 1 touchdown.
Francisco 49ers Defense
Oakland Raiders scored just three points within the first few minutes of their
game with San Francisco, and were shut out after that. Is the Niner defense that
good, or was it a reflection of the team they were up against? Up till then San
Francisco was giving up just about 30 points a game. San Francisco knows the offensive
line on the Giants is their big weakness, and also know the key players they have
to look out for. Even with Saquon Barkley using his skills, the Giants are next
to last in the league with the run blocking the line provides.
have had to overcompensate with quick passes to Barkley, who actually trails team
leader Odell Beckham Jr. by just three catches. The Niners saw Eli Manning being
sacked seven times in his last game before the bye, and they will be coming. Defensive
tackle DeForest Buckner leads the team with 5.5 sacks, and also leads in quarterback
pressures. Overall this defense does a good job against the run allowing 102.8
yards a game.
Is there some measure of help on
the way for Eli Manning? The team acquired Guard Jamon Brown off waivers from
the Los Angeles Rams. In 2017 Brown started all 17 games at right guard, but was
suspended for substance abuse, and missed the first two games this season. Brown's
replacement did an outstanding job, and remained as the starter. Brown still played
in the following six games for the Rams up until this move to the Giants. Any
improvement on the Giants offensive line would be a big plus, not only for Manning,
but for Saquon Barkley as well, and Brown is a good run blocker.
the team is 31st in the NFL in rushing yardage (77.9 a game), and on a downward
trend, totaling 61 and 37 yards in the last two games. Before the season started,
Pat Shurmur said "We're going to go as far as that (offensive) line will
block for us.", and he sure got that right. Critics like to jump on Manning,
but for his part, even being sacked 31 times, he has a 68.3 percent completion
rate, more than five percentage points higher than his 2014 career-best. Wouldn't
you like to see what Manning could do with the talent he has on hand, given at
least a measure of adequate protection?
Should the Giants fear Nick Mullens
after his amazing debut as the starting quarterback for the Niners? As good as
Mullens' performance was, there's still a small asterisk, as his success was achieved
playing against the pitiful Oakland Raiders. Of course that would be erased if
the Giants continue to keep playing as they have over the last few games, giving
up some big passing plays. Mullens faced little pressure last week, and it was
actually the first game where the Niners did not allow a sack. Still, the Giants
have only 10 sacks in eight games, and haven't applied much quarterback pressure.
Olivier Vernon missed much of the season, but what he has done in the last
three games has been apparent. The Giants activated fifth-round pick defensive
lineman R.J. McIntosh, who has not played due to an illness, and they are anxious
to see what he can do. Safety Curtis Riley will have to up his game, and Landon
Collins will have to do what he can up against tight end George Kittle, and that
could tip the scales here.
Giants were on a bye and San Francisco played in a Thursday night game. Both teams
have had some extra time to rest and prepare. The Giants added time advantage
disappeared when the Niners introduced quarterback Nick Mullens to the world,
giving the Giants some extra homework to do for the new kid on the block. What
seemed to possibly be a favorable matchup with the Giants playing another weak
team, has turned more into a research project.
While San Francisco is in a
division where the leading team, the Los Angeles Rams are 9-1, the Giants see
the 6-3 Washington Redskins on top. They lost two starting guards and a wide receiver
to season-ending surgeries, but got past Tampa Bay. The Cowboys beat the Eagles,
and both teams are at 4-5. There is a remote outside chance that still exists
for the Giants in the NFC East. If they can stabilize their offensive line and
the others fade, who knows?
Sunday at 1:00pm Redskins (5-3)
at Tampa Bay (3-5). | Results Redskins 16 - Tampa Bay 3.
Sunday at 8:20pm
Cowboys (3-5) at Eagles (4-4). | Results Cowboys 27 - Eagles 20.
8:15pm Giants (1-7) at San Francisco (2-7).
The Eagles are the only NFC East
team favored to win in these games.
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former center Weston Richburg will be facing off against his old teammates on
Giants current offensive line
coach Hal Hunter was out of the league last year.
Hal Hunter last coached in Cleveland in 2016, where the Browns allowed an NFL-high
Giants Eli Manning has been
sacked 31 times so far, the most of his career through eight games.
Nov 18 Tampa Bay at Giants.
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Nov 25 Giants at Philadelphia.
Giants Tickets - Buy
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