The San Francisco 49ers have had this one circled on their calendars for a long time now. After several miscues against the Giants cost them a shot at the Super Bowl in the NFC Championship game, the 49ers certainly had an unsettled feeling in their stomachs this offseason. The game should have never been in question, the 49ers may have actually been the better team in that one, but botched returns by Kyle Williams deep in their own territory sank their chances. Of course, the Giants ultimately went on to win the Super Bowl, perhaps deepening the wound even more. The 49ers so far this season have looked just as good, or even better than last year with a posted 4-1 record; their only slip up coming against the Minnesota Vikings which was a trap game of sorts.
The New York Giants, similar to the last several years during the regular season, are a mixed bag. During the regular season they are a difficult team to pinpoint, and this season is no different. They have a 3-2 record, something you would come to expect from this team at this point in the season. So with that, I don’t feel like that is much of a shocker; however, one thing that sticks out to me is the way in which they are winning ball games. The Giants are a team that notoriously have relied on their stout defenses to win. Play solid defense, chew up the clock on offense with a potent running game and let the defense dictate the final score. This year, however, Eli Manning has had to dish the ball out with great regularity. I’m not quite sure this is the type of games they want to get into, but the offense will need to keep it up if they want to stay competitive. Let’s take a closer look at the offense.
The offense ranks second in the NFL with 429 yards per game. This ranking is thanks to the Giants passing game which averages 309 yards a game, the running game dearly misses a full complement of running backs like they are used to. With the departure of Brandon Jacobs, they have had to rely on Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw hasn’t been too bad, averaging 83 yards a game, but another capable back would go a long way against the 49ers. The ‘Niners are virtually impossible to run on, although, they have slipped a bit in the rankings this season. Nevertheless, they still only allow 81.4 yards per game. The pass defense has been equally as impressive, allowing only 181 yards a game.
The offense has gotten a boost with the addition of receiver Mario Manningham. Quarterback Alex Smith no longer looks like a lost puppy on the field either. Part of the problem with the 49ers offense in the past was the fact that all they could do is pound the ball and hope for the best, but now defenses have to stay honest to the pass. This has opened up big running room for Frank Gore and the ‘Niners on the ground. They lead the NFL with 196 yards per game on the ground. The 49ers have quickly turned this offense around. No longer do teams just need to worry about the defense, but they have an offense to boot.
Giants vs. 49ers Spread and Betting Odds:
New York Giants +6.5 (-115)
@San Francisco 49ers -6.5 (-105)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Giants vs. 49ers Pick:
Even though this is standard protocol for the Giants to play average football this time in the year, there is still something missing from previous teams. The defensive line is getting pushed around, certainly not getting the pressure it once did, and the running game is not getting the same push up front. I believe the 49ers and Texans are the best two teams in the league at the moment, and I think the 49ers will make a claim for being the best in week 6.
The Giants are going to need a complete effort from the offense and defenses, but I’m not quite sure they can get that. Nicks is listed as questionable and will be a game time decision. Without a capable running game against the ‘Niners, Eli Manning should be pressured into some mistakes here. I expect this game to stay close for three quarters, but the 49ers will ultimately win and pick up the cover.
PICK = 49ers -6.5