New York Giants vs San Francisco 49ers

This Week 10 NFL Monday Night Football showdown features two teams struggling to survive the 2018 season – the NFC East last place New York Giants and the NFC West last place San Francisco 49ers – at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, broadcasted on ESPN.

The 1-7 New York Giants:

The 1-7 New York Giants are coming off a Week 9 Bye, so they should be well rested, though probably not well recovered after their 13-20 NFC East loss to the Washington Redskins in Week 8.

Quarterback Eli Manning was sacked no less than seven times during that game, but still managed to go 30-for-47 for 316 yards and a touchdown.

Manning’s two interceptions that game bring his season pick total to 6, which puts him tied for 17th in that category.

Giants’ red zone issues continue

The Giants’ offense can be extremely effective between the twenty-yard lines, having move the ball an average 353.2 yards per game this season.

Where they fall short is in the red zone, having only converted 40.00 percent of those opportunities into touchdowns, with only one team in the league (the New York Jets) doing worse.

The Giants only average 18.8 points per game, which in Week 10 will be a problem against the 49ers, a team that has scored 23 points per game this season.

The 2-7 San Francisco 49ers:

The 2-7 San Francisco 49ers crushed the Oakland Raiders in Week 9 by a score of 34-3, but that’s not the best part of the story.

That honor goes to Nick Mullens, the undrafted free agent quarterback who spent last year, his rookie season, on the 49ers practice squad, but who now finds himself as the man after starter Jimmy Garoppolo tore his ACL in Week 3 and backup C.J. Beathard failed to impress (or win) in six games.

In his NFL debut, Mullens seemed at ease as he went 16-for-22 for 262 yards and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions and led his team to a rare 2018 victory.

49ers will sack

Helping Mullens with his first win was the San Francisco defense putting tremendous pressure on Oakland quarterback Derek Carr, sacking him seven times.

San Francisco is tied for seventh in sacks this season with a total of 24, so watch for them to have fun with the Giants offensive line, who have allowed opponents to sack Manning a league-leading 31 times.

What’s at stake:

If the Giants win this matchup, they’ll move to 2-7 and begin their impossible climb out of the NFC East basement.

But if the 49ers come out on top, they’ll be 3-7 and with two wins in a row, they’ll climb past the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West and with their ‘new’ quarterback make a run towards an elusive wildcard playoff spot.

Questions to answer…

Who’s favored to win this Week 10 Giants-49ers matchup?

Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?

Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?

We’re going to compare the Giants and the 49ers and attempt to answer those questions and more.

The 2018 Giants offense needs to protect better

How is aging quarterback Eli Manning supposed to do his job when he’s constantly under pressure from defenses?

His offensive line has allowed Manning to get sacked 31 times this season, the most in the NFL, and they’ve allowed 57 quarterback hits, tied for 23rd most.

The 49ers are T-7th in the league for most sacks, with 24 of them, so the Giants will have to figure out a way to protect Manning better if they expect him to start becoming more effective and to stay healthy.

Barkley underused, Beckham productive

The Giants have arguably one of the best running backs in the league, and yet they’ve handed him the ball less than fourteen times per game (13.9).

Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan has to figure out how to get Barkley to touch the ball closer to twenty times per game if the Giants expect to get bigger and better numbers on offense. And wins.

Newly paid receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has caught 61 passes this season, tied for 4th most in the league, and his 785 total reception yards ranks 6th.

Expect him to shine against a 49ers defense ranked 18th against the pass.

Injuries not a factor for Giants

Wide receiver Jawill Davis (concussion) was listed as questionable and was a limited participant in Thursday’s practice.

Otherwise, the Giants are well rested and fairly healthy after their Week 9 Bye.

The 2018 49ers offense begins anew with Mullens

Everything’s different now that Mullens has taken over, especially when it comes to the 49ers’ offensive stats.

For instance, they’re ranked 18th among NFL offenses having averaged 354.6 overall yards per game, but with Mullens against the Raiders they put up 405 total yards.

Without Mullens, the 49ers averaged 23 points per game, but with him, they scored 34.

The key is to keep him safe, not a given when it comes to San Francisco’s offensive line, who have allowed 31 sacks this season, tied for 30th most in the NFL with the New York Giants.

Injuries an offensive factor

Several players of the 49ers offense are listed as questionable for Week 10:

  • Center Weston Richburg (knee)
  • Wide receiver Pierre Garcon (knee)
  • Tight end George Kittle (chest)

Giants Defense ranks 21st in the league

With only four total interceptions (T-24th), the Giants’ secondary has trouble intimidating opponents, though keep an eye on cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who has two of those interceptions all to himself.

The New York defense is second-to-last in the league in sacks, having only gotten to opponents quarterbacks 10.0 times this season.

Linebacker Lorenzo Carter and defensive end B.J. Hill each have 2.0 sacks apiece.

49ers Defense is T-13th overall

Anyone who doubts the potential of San Francisco’s defense should just watch their Week 9 effort when they kept the Raiders to just 3 points in the entire game, although in the previous eight weeks they allowed opponents to score an average of 26.6 points.

The 49ers have sacked opponents quarterbacks 24 times (T-7th) but have only intercepted 2 passes (30th).

Last year’s All-Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster (hamstring) is listed as questionable, as is safety Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder).

Special Teams Stats Comparison

Punters:

New York’s punter, Riley Dixon, acquired in a trade with the Broncos this offseason, has punted 35 times for a net average of 42.0 yards per punt, ranked 5th in the league.

San Francisco’s punter, Bradley Pinion, is in his fourth year and has been a 49er his whole career. So far, he’s punted 39 times for a net average of 37.7 yards per punt, ranked 30th in the league.

Placekickers:

New York’s placekicker, Aldrick Rosas, a second year player, both with the Giants, has gone 17-for-18, his longest was a 53-yarder. He hasn’t missed an extra point attempt (9/9).

San Francisco’ veteran placekicker, Robbie Gould, in his fourteenth year, has only been a 49er since last season and so far he’s 18-for-19, his longest was a 51-yarder. He’s missed one extra point attempt (17/18).

Punt Returners:

New York’s punt returner, wide receiver Jawill Davis (concussion), is listed as questionable for Week 10. Receiver Odell Beckham, his ‘backup’,is ranked 63rd in the league for return yards. He’s returned 7 punts for 18 yards, averaging 2.6 yards per return, his longest was for 15 yards.

San Francisco’s rookie punt returner, wide receiver Dante Pettis, was drafted in the second round and is currently ranked 63rd in the league in return average. He’s returned 8 punts for 26 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 3.3 yards per return, his longest for 14 yards.

Giants–49ers prediction and odds

The oddsmakers have the 49ers favored over the Giants by 3.5 with an over/under of 44.0.

CBSSports.com has two final score predictions:

Pete Prisco goes with the over and has it Giants 28, 49ers 20.

John Breech takes the under and predicts it Giants 20, 49ers 16.

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