New York Giants Preview: Week 10 at San Francisco 49ers
The two week break from New York Giants football is over. Now, they focus on their second half of the season, which is arguably not as brutal in strength as the first eight games. It all begins in the Bay Area, as they take on the 2-7 San Francisco 49ers.
The prime time matchup on Monday night provides various storylines that could very well signify the start of a new era for the Giants.
Eli’s Last Stand?
Entering the bye week, one questioned surrounded the New York Giants.
“Will the Giants bench Eli Manning?”
The belief was that head coach Pat Shurmur would get rookie quarterback Kyle Lauletta ready for some starter’s reps. Many thought it could come as soon as the San Francisco game. However, as everyone knows, Lauletta had a bit of trouble with the law, as he was arrested for reckless driving on Rt. 495 in Weehawken, N.J. With charges filed against Lauletta, Shurmur announced the rookie would not be suspended, but punished internally.
That news alone ensured Manning would continue to start under center. However, it’s not a long term deal, as Shurmur stressed he will start against the 49ers, when asked if he’s the starter for the remainder of the year.
New York’s current regime is evaluating the quarterback position, with the season all but lost, despite being in a winnable NFC East. General manger Dave Gettleman was spotted in Salt Lake City, U.T. scouting Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert in person. This new regime is focused on finding the answer at quarterback.
If Manning’s play fails to lead the Giants to a victory over the 49ers, it will almost certainly be a “next-man up” scenario in the waning weeks of the season. Whether it’s Lauletta or Alex Tanney remains to be seen.
Monday could very well be Eli’s last stand.
Jamon Brown’s Debut
New York’s terrible start to the season does have it’s benefits, in terms of the waiver wire. They were awarded a true gem on the wire, as they nabbed offensive guard Jamon Brown from the Los Angeles Rams. The decision to waive Brown came as a shock, as he was universally praised for his play. However, Brown was a victim of the numbers game, after the team acquired defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. from the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Brown’s spot on the Giants was further solidified on Saturday, as the team released guard Patrick Omameh, who was signed to a three-year, $15 million contract this offseason.
Shurmur was not committal on Brown getting the start, as he is still getting acclimated to the new offensive style in New York. Yet, it wouldn’t come as a shock if he sees some snaps on Monday night, as he’s played the 49ers six times in his young career.
Brown does have some extra motivation, as he transitions from a previously undefeated Rams team to a Giants team that has just one win this season. He played in all 16 games last year, before serving a two-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, which caused him to lose his starter’s job in Hollywood. Now, as a pending free agent, Brown is looking to prove his worth on the Giants, as it could lead to a long term contract.
“Yeah, there’s definitely opportunity,” said Brown. “At the end of the day, I’m going to take it a day at a time. Control what I can control, which is being in the now. Making sure I’m learning, making sure I’m picking up on everything I can, and learning the Giants way, and letting all of that take care of itself.”
Stopping the Unpredictable Mullens
A star was born a couple of weeks ago, as Nick Mullens, third-string quarterback for San Francisco, stepped up with the lights shining bright on Thursday Night Football.
Mullens looked like the second-coming of Joe Montana or Steve Young against the lowly Oakland Raiders defense. He completed 16-of-22 passes for 262 yards and three scores in the last ever “Battle for the Bay.”
There is not much pro-game film on Mullens for the Giants, other than his debut game against Oakland or his performances at Southern Mississippi. New York’s pass defense is stronger than Oakland’s but not much to instill much confidence. The Giants have allowed 244 passing yards per game, which is a league average, and have allowed just 11 touchdowns through the air. Janoris Jenkins leads the cornerback group, but the depth is very thin, as B.W. Webb, Grant Haley, and Tony Lippett stand behind him on the chart.
Mullens, like many rookies, will lean heavily on his tight end. Luckily for him, he has George Kittle, who has become a rising star in the NFL. Kittle has 692 receiving yards, which is among the top at his position, and three scores. While the Giants will try to contain him, they will also have to focus on the receiver Marquise Goodwin, who will certainly use his trademark speed to his advantage.
New York’s defense will certainly have their hands full on Monday, especially when facing a wild card like Nick Mullens.
Odell vs. Sherman
It’s a battle of two of the more vocal figures in the NFL: Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Richard Sherman. Top receiver on the Giants against the primary corner in the young 49ers defense.
Beckham and Sherman have only faced off once in their careers, and that came in Beckham’s rookie year. Beckham, who had quickly become the team’s top receiver, worked primarily against Sherman, who was then a member of Seattle’s “Legion of Boom.” Beckham would finish the game with seven receptions for 108 yards, which included a long 44-yard reception against the smack-talking corner.
It’s weird to think that the two only faced off once. The Seahawks would face the Giants last year, but that was after Beckham’s season-ending ankle injury and before Sherman tearing his Achilles.
The receiver is coming off back-to-back games with over 100-yards receiving, and Sherman has been great in coverage this year. Beckham vs. Sherman will certainly bring eyes to the screens, especially considering this is their second only meeting.
The Giants-49ers game will kickoff at 8:15 p.m. ET live on ESPN.
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