The 49ers played in the NFC Championship Game a year ago and might have won it if not for an unfortunate injury to quarterback Brock Purdy. The 49ers are again a Super Bowl contender, perhaps the favorite to represent the NFC. They have a high-flying offense that has scored 60 points in two games, tied for third in the league with the Miami Dolphins. They have a stout defense that has given up just 30 points in two games. That unit is led by All-Pro edge defender Nick Bosa and All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner, and features a host of talented defensive linemen.
The Giants acknowledged at the end of last season that there was a talent gap between themselves and the best teams in the league, the 49ers among them. The Giants made several moves to improve the roster during the offseason, but a 40-0 whitewashing by the Dallas Cowboys and falling behind the Arizona Cardinals 20-0 before rallying showed there is still work to be done.
The Week 1 game against the Cowboys was in front of a national television audience on Sunday Night Football. The Giants will be trying to avoid a second straight embarrassment in the national spotlight. The challenge will be complicated with four starters — star running back Saquon Barkley, second-team All-Pro left tackle Andrew Thomas, left guard Ben Bredeson and edge defender Azeez Ojulari — ruled out with injuries.
On a positive note, wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson is expected to make his season debut.
Below, the Big Blue View staff picks for Thursday night.
While the Giants narrowly escaped with a victory against Arizona, a repeat performance in San Francisco will likely lead to another blowout loss. A defense that allowed Joshua Dobbs and James Conner to walk all over them for most of the game is ill-prepared to face Christian McCaffrey, Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, and George Kittle. Meanwhile, the Giants’ offensive line is still patchwork, and Daniel Jones has been shaky to start the season despite a strong comeback effort on Sunday. Until the Giants prove otherwise, they are not ready to compete with the big boys of the NFC.
I won’t be shocked if the Giants’ offense has some success in this game, although Nick Bosa and Javon Hargrave may make this look a lot like the Dallas game, and Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw may make life difficult for Darren Waller. My real misgiving is the Giants’ D. The run D has been awful when Dexter Lawrence isn’t in the game, the linebacker play has once again been subpar, and the pass rush has been nonexistent. Not a good formula when Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and Brandon Aiyuk are facing you. 49ers win going away.
New York narrowly escaped Arizona with a victory and now faces one of the best teams in the league on their second consecutive road game. The Giants are experimenting on their offensive line. There was promise in Week 2 up front, but Nick Bosa and Co. are much more formidable than the Cardinals. I have got to roll with SF.
I don’t think this will be the bloodbath that the line suggests. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Giants carry the aggressive mentality from the second half of the Cardinals game forward and take the 49ers by surprise. But ultimately, San Francisco has too much on offense and defense AND they’re well coached. A Giants win would be a stunning upset unless there’s a game-changing injury.
Nope. Just not a chance that New York wins this game. The Giants’ run defense will have few answers for the 49ers, who averaged 173 rushing yards in their first two games. And NFL teams seem more ready for New York’s short passing game concepts this year, so expect Kyle Shanahan to already have a plan in place to stop them. Giants lose by 14 points or more.
There is simply no way I can take the Giants to win here. It took a monumental comeback for them to beat Arizona, a bad team, in Week 2. An upset victory would be huge for the Giants, but without Saquon Barkley, Andrew Thomas, Ben Bredeson and Azeez Ojulari it is not realistic to expect one. Giants’ fans should be hoping for, and largely happy with, a representative effort that erases some of the sting of their Week 1 national TV embarrassment by Dallas.
More Giants-49ers coverage
- Giants-49ers: When the Giants have the ball
- Giants vs. 49ers: Is Brock Purdy the real deal, and more questions with Niners Nation
- Giants-49ers: When the Giants have the ball
- Giants-49ers: When San Francisco has the ball
- Giants at 49ers, Week 3: 3 storylines to follow, including life without Saquon Barkley