Team Giants


Giants - 49ers
Game 3 preview
Thursday Sept 21, 8:15 PM - Giants at San Francisco

Giants (1-1) San Francisco (2-0)
On Sunday San Francisco had an early lead over the Los Angeles Rams, but the score was tied 17-17 at the half. They outscored the Rams in the next two quarters and finished up with a 30-23 win.
The Giants got off to a poor start and looked to be on the way to their second loss of the season. Down 20-0 at the half in their game with the Arizona Cardinals, they managed to right the ship with a 31-28 win.

San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have been running hot the past two seasons. In 2021 they finished third in their division, but won two playoff games, before blowing a 10 point fourth quarter lead to the Los Angeles Rams in the Conference Championship game. A win would have put them in the Super Bowl. In 2022 they won the division with a 13-4 record, and once again lost in the Conference Championship game, this time to the Philadelphia Eagles. This year they set their sights on getting past the tough competition that kept them one step away from being in the Super Bowl.

San Francisco 49ers Offense
The quarterback situation for the 49ers has been tricky. Trey Lance was the overall third pick of the 2021 draft by the 49ers when Jimmy Garoppolo was the starter. Lance was named the starter in 2022, but was out for the season with an ankle injury in Week 2. When Garoppolo was injured, Brock Purdy, the final pick of the NFL 2022 draft, became the starter. Purdy tore the UCL in the elbow of his throwing arm during the first quarter of the NFC Championship Game. Garoppolo is now with the Raiders, and the 49ers picked up Sam Darnold, who was named the backup before the season started. Then Lance was traded to the Cowboys for a 2024 fourth-round pick.
Purdy's arm looked fine and he got off to a good start passing for 220 yards and 2 touchdowns in the 49ers first win against Pittsburgh. On Sunday against the Rams, Purdy threw for 206 yards, averaging 8.2 yards a throw, and he ran for 1 touchdown. Running back Christian McCaffrey was the big workhorse, carrying the ball 20 times for 116 yards and 1 touchdown. McCaffrey also caught 3 passes for 19 yards. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel is also a dual threat.
Samuel is the second leading rusher and receiver on the team, and has 1 rushing touchdown. McCaffrey and Samuel are responsible for half of the total 40 first downs made by the team this year. Brandon Aiyuk leads the team with 11 receptions for 172 yards and 2 touchdowns, and he has made 11 first downs. Tight end George Kittle is another big weapon, and he has 6 catches for 49 yards.

San Francisco 49ers Defense
This defense is coming off a great year where they were ranked first in points allowed, second in rushing defense, and tied for first with 20 interceptions. They gave up more than 20 points in only 3 of all those 17 games, and slipped just a bit on Sunday when they gave up 23 points to the Rams. You could say that passing defense was their one weakness, and the Rams capitalized on that. Rookie Puka Nacua caught 15 passes for 147 of the total 307 total passing yards that the 49ers gave up. They sacked Matthew Stafford just once, but their two second half interceptions kept the Rams scoring down, so they could finish up with their 30-23 win.
Last year Nick Bosa was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and he led the league with 18.5 sacks. Bosa has been there for the pass rush, but has none so far, and it's defensive end Drake Jackson who leads the team with 3 sacks. Javon Hargrave, Fred Warner, and Kerry Hyder Jr. each have one for the teams total of six. The secondary has been opportunistic with 4 interceptions, equally shared by safety Talanoa Hufanga and cornerbacks Charvarius Ward, Deommodore Lenoir and Isaiah Oliver.

Giants Offense
The Giants took a tough loss to the Dallas Cowboys in week one, a team that has been recognized to have one of the top defenses. The Arizona Cardinals are nowhere near that same category, but it took the Giants two quarters of playing against them to realize that on Sunday. Daniel Jones started things off with a 58 yard pass to wide receiver Jalin Hyatt. After that spark the Giants offense never looked back, with Jones scoring with his 14-yard touchdown run, and the Giants continued to score on each of their next four possessions, including three more touchdowns and the game-winning field goal.
During that time Saquon Barkley had one rushing touchdown, and he took a 9 yard pass into the endzone. Every time the Giants had the ball in the second half they scored, and they needed every point to win this game. Overall Barkley and Jones ran the ball 26 times for 122 yards and 2 touchdowns. Matt Breida had 1 carry for 5 yards, and you can figure that Breida will be a bigger part of the offense on Thursday night.
The Giants win was costly, in that Barkley has been ruled out after suffering a severe ankle injury near the end of the game. Aside from Breida, the Giants have Gary Brightwell and rookie Eric Gray. The offensive line will look a lot like it did on Sunday, as left tackle Andrew Thomas will miss this game as well, and guard Ben Bredeson is also out. Their subs, Joshua Ezeudu at left tackle and Marcus McKethan at right guard, meshed well on the offensive line. They'll need to use their experience up against tougher competition on Thursday. Without Barkley, Jones might have to rely even more on tight end Darren Waller, who came up with 6 receptions for 76 yards, and his other talented receivers, Darius Slayton, Parris Campbell, Isaiah Hodgins and Jalin Hyatt.

Giants Defense
The defense did their job in the second half on Sunday when they limited the Cardinals to just 48 yards and zero points on their final four possessions. They'll need to play at their best for all four quarters when they face off with the 49ers offense, notably running back Christian McCaffrey. In the first two games they allowed the teams top running backs - Tony Pollard and James Conneran, an average of 5 and 4.6 yards a carry. In his two games, McCaffrey has 42 carries for 268 yard and 2 touchdowns for an average of 6.4 yards a carry. McCaffrey currently leads the NFL in rushing yards by a large margin.
There were no sacks or interceptions on Dak Prescott in the Giants first game, but Prescott threw no touchdowns. Cardinals quarterback Joshua Dobbs threw one touchdown against the Giants on Sunday. Brock Purdy had two touchdowns in his first game throwing to Brandon Aiyuk, but threw none last week. The Giants are in the top ten with their passing defense. The San Francisco offense is average, and now Purdy has his top receiver dealing with a shoulder injury if he plays.
Will that be a factor in this game? Even if so, those numbers flip the other way, and more so, when you match up the 49ers rushing offense against the Giants rushing defense. This defense is the only one in the NFL that hasn't come up with a sack or a turnover. Those are the things that kill drives and help you win football games. Kayvon Thibodeaux, Leonard Williams, Bobby Okereke and Rakeem Nunez-Roches have to get it going.

This is the home opener for the 49ers, and the fans will be looking for them to stretch their win streak to 3-0. Both teams are playing on a short week, and with only two games on tape, it may be hard to evaluate fully the strengths and weaknesses they'll be seeing. What the Giants have put on film so far in their two games is likely just as confusing to them as it is to anyone else.
The Giants practiced away from home, and also had to deal with a travel day on this short game turnaround. There's no guessing as to which team is favored to win on Thursday, but hey - you do realize that the NFC East is undefeated, 6-0 against all the teams outside their division.

NFC East Games
Thursday at 8:15pm Giants (1-1) at 49ers (2-0)
Sunday at 1:00pm Bills (1-1) at Commanders (2-0)
Sunday at 4:25pm Cowboys (2-0) at Cardinals (0-2)
Monday at 7:15pm Eagles (2-0) at Buccaneers (2-0)
The Cowboys and Eagles are the NFC East teams favored to win in these games.
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Next Games
Oct 2 Seahawks at Giants
Oct 8 Giants at Dolphins

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