Can the New York Giants defeat a team with a winning record for the first time in seven tries this season when they face the 5-4 San Francisco 49ers at 1 p.m. ET Sunday at MetLife Stadium? Here is what your Big Blue View staff writers think.
It's hard to have a lot of confidence in the Giants' chances this Sunday.
Not after watching the Giants surrender a obscene amount of yards to the Seattle rushing attack. Not to mention San Fran is getting Aldon Smith back to spark an anemic pass rush. And even missing Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman, rookie Chris Borland is playing fantastically (much to the frustration of Beezers everywhere).
The Giants are getting starting running back Rashad Jennings back, but he can only contribute so much if the interior of the offensive line continues to run block poorly. The biggest thing the Giants have going for them is the emergence of Odell Beckham as a force at wide receiver. The last two weeks he has been one of the best receivers in the league, catching 15 out of 20 targets for the most yards of any WR. And one of those weeks was going against one of the best secondaries in the league. Even at it's best, San Francisco's secondary isn't as good as Seattle's, and they will be down two starting DBs. The Giants should be able to move the ball and score points on the 9ers.
I think this is a game the Giants can win. But, until I see the Giants' defense stand up and play with discipline, I'm going to be hard pressed to pick them, especially against a team so much like the one that ran through them in Seattle.
Winner: San Francisco
On paper, this looks like another loss for the Giants. They struggled heavily versus the read option against Seattle, and the 49ers come into this game after a thrilling road victory against the New Orleans Saints with a dominant rushing attack. However, looking at this game, something tells me the Giants pull this one out.
For one, this is the second road game in a row in the Eastern time zone for a west coast team and that's never good. The Giants, while just being overall really awful, have at least started to improve their offense. The chemistry between Eli Manning and Odell Beckham is growing. I think despite the Giants' awful performance versus the run, they will work on it so much in practice that they have no choice but to play it better than they have the last few weeks. Something tells me they scrape whatever bits of pride they have left. This is as much a trap game for the 49ers as it is a winnable game for the Giants. Rashad Jennings should give them an offensive boost as well. I think the Giants steal one this week in a dogfight.
Pick: Giants 21, 49ers 20
(From Jesse's Week 11 picks against the point spread)
The Giants are soft along the offensive and defensive lines, which doesn't bode well for facing the 49ers. The Giants haven't played ANY game this year (win or loss) where the margin of victory was less than 10 points, which is really fascinating. Unfortunately, the Giants haven't given us any reason to believe they can overcome that this weekend.
Pick: 49ers win big
There is no reason to think the Giants should win this game. They are 0-6 against teams with winning records, which the 5-4 49ers are. They are demoralized after losing four straight games and being physically embarrassed last week by Seattle. They can't stop the run, and the 49ers are an excellent running team. They can't score enough points.
Yet, someday the Giants have to win a game against a good team? Don't they? If they are ever going to, this seems like as good a time as any. San Francisco has a winning record, but these aren't the Super Bowl 49ers of a couple of years ago. If the Giants have any pride, the defense will at least play hard. Maybe that will translate into a game-changing play or two.
In previous weeks I've said I couldn't pick the Giants to beat a good team until I actually see them do it. I am going to go against that train of thought here. Sooner or later, the Giants will beat a good team. This week is as good a time as any.
Jesse Bartolis: 49ers