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Game 3 preview
Sunday Sept 27, 1:00 PM - San Francisco at Giants

Giants (0-2) San Francisco 49ers (1-1)
Last Sunday the San Francisco 49ers played at MetLife Stadium against the Jets. They came away with a 31-13 win, but suffered a number of injuries in the process.
The Giants also were struck with injuries in their game with the Bears in Chicago. They fought back from a 17-0 first-half deficit, and had a chance to win on the last play of the game, but took a 17-13 loss.

San Francisco 49ers
Older fans remember the 49ers as a dominant power house team in the 1980s and 90s. They won the division title 13 times and ended up in the playoffs 16 times, winning the Super Bowl 5 times. The good times ended in 1999 when they had only 2 winning seasons up until 2011. That's when they went 13-3 and won the Divisional Playoffs, but lost the NFC Championship game to the Giants, 2017 in overtime. The Giants went on to win Super Bowl XLVI.
In 2012 they lost Super Bowl XLVII to the Ravens 3431. They cooled off after losing the NFC Championship to the Seahawks 2317 the following year. Six years later brings us to last year 2019 where they were in the Super Bowl once again. This time up against Kansas City, where they lost Super Bowl LIV to the Chiefs 3120. Kyle Shanahan got them there in his third year as head coach.
It should be noted that Shanahan was concerned about the turf at MetLife Stadium after playing there last week. Defensive end Nick Bosa, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman and defensive tackle Solomon Thomas all suffered game-ending lower-body injuries. New FieldTurf was installed in the stadium this summer. It was checked and verified that the playing surface meets all the applicable standards.

49ers Offense
You read about the injuries they sustained last week at MetLife. They will be missing starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, dealing with a high ankle sprain. Backup quarterback Nick Mullens will be making his first start since 2018. He was the starter that year for eight games after Garoppolo tore his left AC, and won 3 out of 8 games for San Francisco.
Running backs Raheem Mostert, Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman were the top running backs for the team last year. Mostert and Coleman sustained knee injuries last week, and have been ruled out for this game. Matt Breida is no longer with this team.
Jerick McKinnon, who signed on with the 49ers n 2018, and missed the past two seasons with a knee injury, will have an opportunity to shine. He's seen limited action in the first two games, and made the most of his opportunities, with 6 carries for 101 yards and 1 touchdown.
All-Pro tight end George Kittle was the leading receiver for the team last year, and will miss his second game in a row dealing with a knee injury. The 49ers like throwing to a tight end. Jordan Reed is right there for that, and so far has been targeted 10 times, catching 9 of them for 2 touchdowns.

49ers Defense
Their defensive front will be missing defensive ends Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas, and lineman Dee Ford, who combined for 17.5 sacks last season. Bosa was the 2019 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. They still have defensive lineman Arik Armstead coming off a 10 sack year, and the 49ers won't be facing an elite offense in this game.
The Giants rank second in the NFL in pressures allowed, and Daniel Jones has been sacked 7 times. Running backs have totaled just 55 yards on 30 carries. Jones has run for 43 yards on 7 carries when he has taken off, and that currently makes him the leading rusher for the Giants.
As for passing defense,last year they ranked first in the league in passing yards allowed, and are currently fourth in that area. The secondary has allowed only three completions of 20+ yards, So far, the Giants have thrown the ball the most of any team, 68 percent of the time. Jones will be looking to get the ball to Darius Slayton if he has time.

Giants Offense
The Giants have scored just 16 and 13 points in the first two games. Last year only two NFL defenses were able to hold opponents to an average of 17 points or less. No one expects the Giants defense to play like the Patriots and Bills did, so obviously the Giants need to score more points. You do that more with your passing game, so let's start with that. So far, Daniel Jones has thrown 2 touchdown passes, has 3 interceptions, and lost one fumble.
Continuing at that rate compared to last year, he'll have 8 less touchdowns, 12 more interceptions, and 4 more fumbles. He'll also be sacked 16 more times, even with what is supposed to be an improved offensive line. Can Jones show that his current two game trend won't continue throughout the season? We'll find out on Sunday when he goes at it without the help of wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who will miss at least three games after being placed on injured reserve with turf toe.
In the first six out of eight quarters, Jones had connected with Shepard 8 out of 10 times for 76 yards. After having a poor showing in game one, tight end Evan Engram stepped up last week. He wasn't thrown to at all in the first half, but with Shepard out for the second, Engram finished up being the most targeted receiver of the game, catching 6 out of 8 passes for 65 yards, and 4 first downs.
The Giants signed free agent running back Devonta Freeman to a one-year, $3 million contract after Saquon Barkley was placed on injured reserve. He was the top running back for the Atlanta Falcons last year. He might not see much action in this game, so expect to see most of the carries going to Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman.

Giants Defense
Is this defense any good? Before you decide, it's funny to note what was stated earlier. Right now this season the Giants are on average, holding opponents to less points scored per game than the Patriots or the Bills. They've given up less points than any other team in the NFC East. They'll catch a break this week facing backup quarterback Nick Mullens instead of Jimmy Garoppolo. That means the 49ers might rely heavier on the running game with Jerick McKinnon who broke out with some big plays in their first two games. The Giants are 25th in run defense, and are lucky they don't have to face the absolute best rushers the 49ers usually have available.
Up front, Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson, B.J. Hill, and Austin Johnson have played well. Lawrence has been bringing good pressure, has 9 tackles, 1 sack, 3 tackles for losses, and 2 quarterback hits. Cornerback James Bradberry last week came up with a big interception, and tipped a ball that was intercepted by Julian Love.
This defense is ranked 2nd in the league in passing yards allowed per game, and 10th in yards allowed per pass play. They rank an overall 4th in yards allowed per game, and have given up a total of only 10 points in the second half.

Overall
Both teams sustained injuries to key players last week. How they adjust to that will certainly affect the outcome of this game. Down two top players last week in the second half, the Giants showed what they can do. They drove downfield and had the ball at the 10-yard-line with four seconds left. If they had completed the drive with a touchdown, they would have won the game, even after being down 17-0.
Aside from other key players, the 49ers lost Jimmy Garoppolo. Not many teams can win games without their starting quarterback. The 49ers will take the field hoping to get by all their injuries. This also isn't the best field for them to take. Although MetLife was cleared by the NFL, any slight leg injury to a player on either team, will be a big distraction. The 49ers might have too many things on their minds to play at their best in this game with the Giants.

NFC East Games
Sunday at 1:00pm 49ers (1-1) at Giants (0-2).
Sunday at 1:00pm Washington (1-1) at Browns (1-1).
Sunday at 1:00pm Bengals (0-2) at Eagles (0-2).
Sunday at 4:25pm Cowboys (1-1) at Seahawks (2-0).
The Eagles are the only NFC East team favored to win in these games.
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Notes.

Giants are last in the NFL averaging 14.5 points per game.

Giants tight end Kaden Smith was was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2019 NFL Draft.

The 49ers are one of three teams to score on each of their opening possessions in the first two games.
Next Games
Oct 4 Giants at Los Angeles
Oct 11 Giants at Cowboys

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