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Giants at 49ers: Five things to watch Sunday

There is really no way to know what to expect from the Giants

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers
Levi’s Stadium
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It has been to say the least a tumultuous week for the New York Giants. Will it get better on Sunday when they face the 0-9 San Francisco 49ers, or worse? Here are five things to watch.

Will the Giants stick together?

After an indifferent 34-point loss at home and a week in which anonymous players have taken shots at coach Ben McAdoo this is, sadly, a legitimate question. The coach says “I believe to the core we have a run in us.”

Thursday, some veteran players took issue with anonymous quotes ripping the head coach. Calling out the complainers and defending the coach is the right thing to do. It might even be a good sign for McAdoo’s future. Now, will the Giants show some resolve after an embarrassing week?

Look, while many Giants fans are counting the days until McAdoo — and perhaps GM Jerry Reese — are gone there is no certainty that is going to happen. McAdoo still has the job and whatever happens from here on out could make this week a watershed moment in whether he keeps the job or not.

Will Jimmy Garoppolo get in the game?

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan says his newly-acquired quarterback will again be the backup to C.J. Beathard because “he’s (Garoppolo) not there yet” in terms of his knowledge of the San Francisco offense.

“I don’t feel any pressure to play this guy because of our record, or pressure to play him because everyone wants him to come in and save our season,” Shanahan said. “I want to make sure that we play him because Jimmy has a chance to be successful, it has a chance to help him and it has a chance to help our team.”

Still, no one should be shocked if Garoppolo is taking snaps at some point during Sunday’s game.

Can Giants generate a pass rush?

The 49ers have allowed 27 sacks, most in the NFL. The Giants have only 13 sacks, second-fewest in the league. The Giants barely touched Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff last Sunday. If they can’t get to 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard, who has been sacked 14 times in the last three weeks, maybe they can’t get to anyone. The Giants might have defensive end Olivier Vernon, who hasn’t played since Week 4, back this week. If he plays, that should help.

Who will be at linebacker?

It seems almost certain that B.J. Goodson (ankle), Keenan Robinson (quad) and Devon Kennard (quad) won’t play. They haven’t practiced this week. Jonathan Casillas (neck) has been limited this week, so right now you would have to consider him uncertain. That leaves undrafted rookies Calvin Munson and Curtis Grant, and the just-signed-off-the-street Kelvin Sheppard. So, it’s difficult to expect sterling linebacker play from the Giants on Sunday.

From “embarrassing pit” to where?

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo called giving up 51 points to the Los Angeles Rams an “embarrassing pit.” McAdoo called for simplification of the scheme, and Landon Collins seemed to indicate that would be a good place to start.

Spagnuolo said the Giants are “just going to try and find the things that work for us.” They can start with shedding blocks, making tackles and giving effort on every play.