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Giants vs. 49ers: Matching up the special teams

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Giants now have to replace Michael Cox on kickoff return.

Michael Cox
Michael Cox
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

As if the misbegotten New York Giants special teams didn't have enough problems, another one sprung up Sunday vs. the Seattle Seahawks when Michael Cox was lost for the season with a fractured leg. Since taking over as the Giants' kickoff returner mid-season Cox had boosted that struggling group, averaging 23.7 yards per return with a long of 40 yards.

Without Cox, it seems likely the Giants will turn to either Quintin Demps (21.3 yards per return on 11 attempts), Preston Parker (19 yards per return on three attempts) or some combination of both. A seemingly unlikely option would be to use Odell Beckham there, adding one more way to get the ball into the hands of the electrifying rookie.

Bruce Ellington has been the primary return man for the 49ers this season. He has been pedestrian on punts returns, averaging 7.0 yards on 17 returns with a long return of 21 yards. The Giants, of course, have struggled in that department, allowing 10.2 yards per return. Ellington has been much better on kickoff returns, averaging 25.8 yards on 14 returns.

San Francisco placekicker Phil Dawson is 16-of-20 in field-goal attempts this season with a long of 55 yards. Punter Andy Lee is averaging 46.7 yards per punt with a net average of 38.8.

Giants placekicker Josh Brown has had only nine field-goal attempts in nine games, converting them all. Punter Steve Weatherford, dealing with ankle and now back issues, is averaging 44.5 yards per punt with a net of 38.1.