A rematch of last season’s NFC Championship game, the New York Giants (3-2) look to get another victory against the San Francisco 49ers (4-1) at Candlestick Park this Sunday.
Last Sunday the Giants took care of the Cleveland Browns with a 41-27 victory. Ahmad Bradshaw started off shaky with a fumble on his first carry, which led to a Trent Richardson touchdown run, but was solid the rest of the way. He carried the ball 30 times for 200 yards and a touchdown, and he wasn’t alone. Victor Cruz had a career high three touchdown day on five receptions for 50 yards.
The Niners last week had a franchise record day against the Buffalo Bills, with a total of 621 yards, winning 45-3. Alex Smith went 18 for 24 with 303 passing yards and three touchdowns. Frank Gore added another touchdown and 106 yards on the ground of the 311 rushing yards the Niners had overall on sunday. This 2012 Niners team managed to do what Joe Montana, Steve Young, nor Y.A. Tittle could do. Not only was the offense impressive, but the defense stepped up a second week in a row. They held the Bills to three points, picked off and sacked Fitzpatrick once, and converted a fumble. The last two games this Niners team has outscored their opponent 79-3.
This week I don’t believe will be another blow out victory for neither team. Instead another closely fought game that will come down to who makes the last mistake, much like the teams last two meetings.
The key for a New York Giants victory will be to get their running game going again like they did last week. Bradshaw seems to be healthy again, and running real well, only thing is the 49ers have only given up one 100 yard rusher in their last 43 games. If the run game gets going, this will give Eli Manning more time to find his receivers and not get sacked like in the last meeting where Eli was sacked six times and hit another six. If Hakeem Nicks is able to play, this might get Victor Cruz some more openings and allow him to go off on the Niners defense like he did in the championship game where he had 10 receptions for 142 yards. The other thing that needs to happen for the Giants to win on Sunday is to create a pass rush. Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, and Jason Pierre Paul have three and a half sacks combined this season. If they want to win, they will have to get to Alex Smith and create some pressure.
“We’ve definitely got to continue to get better as a unit,” Chase Blackburn middle linebacker said. “There is no doubt we have to be better this week. We have a challenge.”
The key for a 49ers win is simple. Run the ball with Gore and abuse the Giants run defense which is giving up 111 yards a game. Then have Alex Smith attack the middle of the field, where Antrel Rolle is still managing an injury, and take advantage of Kenny Phillips being out. Oh and not to forget Mario Manningham and Brandon Jacobs, who is questionable for the game, wanting to show up their former team as well.
Players to Watch:
New York Giants: Victor Cruz, Ahmad Bradshaw, Osi Umenyiora
San Francisco 49ers: Frank Gore, Mario Manningham, Vernon Davis, Carlos Rodgers
Prediction: New York Giants 30 San Francisco 49ers 27
Last Meeting: New York Giants 20 San Francisco 49ers 17
All Time Record: Tied 18-18