Giants At 49ers Preview: Five Things To Watch

Will the Giants be able to contain San Francisco running back Frank Gore? (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The New York Giants (6-2) head West to face the 7-1 San Francisco 49ers this week. Here is this week's edition of 'Five Things To Watch.'

1. Giants' Kickoff Returns -- Much has been made this week about the Giants replacing Devin Thomas with either Danny Ware or rookie Da'Rel Scott. Thomas struggled with muffs, and special teams coordinator Tom Quinn has been questioning his decision-making. This move will be watched closely, and -- of course -- heavily criticized should it backfire. Of course, should Scott break a big return or two fans will be wondering why the move was not made sooner.

2. Giants' Run Defense -- We all know that the Giants have been spotty on run defense, that occasional breakdowns at the line of scrimmage have resulted in some big plays being given up. Well, San Francisco's Frank Gore is on a run of five straight 100+ yard games, so breakdowns will be costly.

3. Can The Giants Make Alex Smith Uncomfortable? Really, this means can they force the 49ers to throw the ball more than they want to? San Francisco prefers the 'ground and pound' approach, allowing Gore to do the heavy lifting on offense. If the Giants can make Smith try to do more, that should work to their advantage.

4. Can The Giants Make Some Big Plays Down The Field? At a glance, the weakness of San Francisco's defense appears to be in the secondary. Can the Giants take advantage of that? If they can make some quick strikes that result in or lead to scores they might be able to get the 49ers into a shootout type of game, which is what San Francisco does not want.

5. Can Brandon Jacobs Do It Again? Replacing Ahmad Bradshaw, Jacobs carried 18 times for 72 yards against New England. More important than the numbers, Jacobs ran with more assertiveness than he has in quite some time. Can he continue to run like that? He still has to prove it.

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