By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Introduction: The Giants are fresh off their bye week and begin the second half of the 2018 season against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night. Before the start of the season, both teams were projected to battle for a playoff spot. Unfortunately; both teams find themselves battling for the 1st overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. The 49ers are 2-7 and last place in the NFC western division averaging 23 points per game. The Giants are 1-7 and also last in their division averaging 18.8 points per game. The 49ers have had more success on the ground than through the air; whereas the Giants have had more success through the air than on the ground. The last time these two teams played was the infamous benching of Eli Manning. However; this matchup might have featured the benching of Eli Manning if not for the traffic violation of rookie quarterback Kyle Lauletta; which led to his arrest. So look for Head Coach Pat Shurmur to stay with Manning at least in this game.
Top 3 Matchups
1. Giants lines-vs-49ers lines: The Giants have surrendered 31 sacks already this season; while only recording 10. The 49ers have recorded 24 and surrendered 31. Both teams have struggled for the most part and the outcome of this game could be decided by which team can play better in the trenches.
2. Turnover Ratio: The 49ers are a dismal -13 in turnover ratio and the Giants currently stand at -4. This could be a tremendous advantage for the Giants if they force the 49ers into mistakes and capitalize on them.
3. Time of Possession: The 49ers are averaging 30:20 minutes per game offensively; which is slightly more than half the game. The Giants are averaging 29:09; which is slightly less than half the game. Winning this matchup would mean keeping Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham on the field longer; which is a big advantage for the Giants.
Summary: The 49ers are likely to start quarterback Nick Mullens who looked like a seasoned veteran against the Oakland Raiders. Eli Manning will likely open the second half as the starter and hopefully will be well rested after the bye week. Both teams have moved the ball respectfully between the 20 yard lines and both teams have struggled in the red zone. The Giants only win came on the road in Houston. The 49ers only two wins came at home, so this game should be close and the outcome could be determined by which team can capitalize on the top match ups listed above. In the end, I believe the 49ers will pull away and win their third game of the season.