By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Introduction: The New York Giants are off to a 0-2 start and will now host the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday at Met life Stadium. The 49ers are 1-1 with their 1st win of the season coming to the hands of the New York Jets last week 31-13. Currently; the odds makers have the 49ers are +4 favorites with the over/under sitting at 42. Expect these numbers to change as we get closer to game time. The two prominent names that appear to be out for this are the Giants Running Back Saquan Barkley and the 49ers Defensive End Nick Bosa, who are both likely out for the season with a torn ACL. During the 1st two games of the season; the Giants offense has not been productive as advertised averaging only 14.5 points per game (28th overall). In contrast, the 49ers offense is currently ranked 19th overall averaging 25.5 points per game. On defense, the Giants are surrendering 21.5 points per game (5th overall) and the 49ers are ranked 7th overall allowing 18.5 points per game. Let’s take a look at my top 5 matchups/must do’s for the Giants to win:
- Fast Start: The Giants have had slow starts in their 1st two games and you need to wonder why? Are they not ready to play or are they just not able to perform at the level we expect? Regardless; this needs to change and it’s up to Head Coach Joe Judge to get this ready before they come out of the tunnel on game day.
- Stepping Up: The Giants need to step up it in all areas; especially with their best player out for the year (Saquon Barkley) Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett needs to shift gears to be even more creative offensive. Despite the signing of running back Devonte Freeman earlier in the week, Quarterback Daniel Jones will be asked to carry more of a load.
- Execution: There are certain categories that go hand in hand with winning games, 3rd down conversions and Red Zone ratio are two of them. The Giants are currently sitting 21st overall at 39.29% in 3rd down conversions. While the 49ers are at 37.50% (24th overall). In the Red Zone, the Giants are 31st overall at 33.33%, while the 49ers are sitting 18th overall at 57.14%. As always, these stats could be the difference in the game and whether or not the Giants can get their 1st win in 2020.
- Opportunistic: Over the 1st two games, the Giants are at -1 in the turnover/takeaway differential department, placing them 23rd overall in the league. The 49ers are even in this department placing them 19th overall in turnover/takeaways.
- Playmakers: The Giants need a couple of players on special teams to shine as it could be a difference maker. Head Coach Joe Judge was a special teams coach for many years and he understands the importance of what a dominant special teams play could have on an outcome of a game. Whether it’s a blocked punt, a punt/kickoff return or creating turnovers; it all matters.
Final Thoughts: Normally; this game would be a lot easier to predict if both teams were healthy; however; the 49ers will be without Defensive End Nick Bosa and Cornerback Richard Sherman (IR) on defense and Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, running back Raheem Mostert, Outside Linebacker Dee Ford all questionable. For the Giants, their best player running back Saquan Barkley is out and wide receiver Sterling Shepard as well. My prediction will be based on the 49ers questionable players all playing (Garoppolo, Mostert and Ford). This will change the outcome of the score; especially if Garoppolo plays. I can see the 49ers scoring a couple of touchdowns and field goals with Garoppolo under center. If not, this could be a low scoring game that could be decided in the closing minutes. The only way the Giants steal a win if all the current questionable players for the 49ers don’t play. Something tells me they will and the result will be another lost by the Giants.
Final Score: 49ers-20/Giants-10