If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. The New York Giants try to beat a team with a winning record for the seventh time on Sunday when they host the San Francisco 49ers. They have failed in their previous six attempts. They also try for the second straight week to muffle an offense that is dependent upon a read-option concept. They failed miserably at that last week, as well.
Here are five things to watch Sunday afternoon.
'When you've got the dive, take the dive. When you've got the quarterback, take the quarterback.'
That is what Antrel Rolle said after the Giants defense showed a complete inability to do either of those things last week against the Seattle Seahawks. They couldn't physically stand up to the Seahawks well enough to handle the dive. They either didn't have enough discipline or enough of a clue, or maybe a combination of both, to figure out how to set the edge when Russell Wilson ran wide.
The 49ers are in a lot of ways a mirror image of the Seahawks. With Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick they have the capability to gash the Giants in identical fashion, and it would be stunning if they don't try. What might be more stunning is if the Giants are actually able to stop the 49ers when they do try.
How much can Rashad Jennings do?
Jennings has not played since Week 5 due to his sprained MCL. Barring a setback the Giants expect him to do that this weekend, and coach Tom Coughlin is expecting an "outstanding lift" from the veteran, who remains the Giants leading rusher. How much can the Giants get from Jennings after an absence of six weeks, including the bye? How much they have missed him has been obvious, with the running game virtually non-existent during the losing streak.
Three in a row for Odell Beckham?
Exciting wide receiver Odell Beckham tries to become the first first Giants rookie to have three straight 100-yard receiving games on Sunday. He had eight catches for 156 yards vs. the Dallas Cowboys and seven catches for 108 vs. the Seahawks. The Giants have done a lot of things wrong when it comes to personnel in recent years. Drafting Beckham 12th overall certainly does not appear to be one of them. You can bet the 49ers will be paying extra attention to Beckham on Sunday.
Pass-rusher extraordinaire Aldon Smith was reinstated from a league-imposed nine-game suspension on Tuesday, just in time to join the 49ers for Sunday's game with the Giants. The 49ers have only 15 sacks this season, which means their pass rush has been just about as mediocre as the Giants, who have 16 sacks.
Smith has 42 sacks in 43 career games. He has fresh legs. He has also promised a couple of new pass rush moves. The Giants will have to keep Smith away from Eli Manning to have a chance on Sunday. The best news for the Giants is that Smith will generally line up over left tackle Will Beatty, who has been rock solid all season.
The MetLife Mood
The last time the Giants played at home, two week ago vs. the Indianapolis Colts, they fell behind 40-10 and the stands were empty long before the third quarter was even finished. That was a reminder of the way things played out at MetLife during the final couple of games last season, and you can bet co-owner John Mara took notice. You can bet that Mara will be looking to see how full the stands are when the game starts, will be observing the pulse of the paying customers and will take note of how many are left at the end, especially if the Giants lose.