The Giants actually accomplished two of the Giants360 keys to victory, but did not manage the most important ones, stopping the run and containing Russell Wilson. They were interrelated, and the 350 yard surrendered, the most given up by the Giants since the game after the infamous Joe Pisarcik fumble in November 1978 all but ended realistic playoff chances for big blue this season. Into Metlife stadium comes Seattle light, also known as the San Francisco Forty-Niners, another team that likes to run the ball and has a quarterback that can do lots of damage with his legs. The Giants get a boost with the return of Rashad Jennings, and can win this game, if they accomplish the below:
- Run the Ball. Time of possession and keeping the Forty-Niners offense off the field will be critical. Jennings return, relegating rookie Andre Williams to a reduced role, should allow the Giants to run the ball with more regularity and sustain drives. It will also open up play action and allow Eli Manning to get the ball to the biggest play maker on the offense, wide receiver Odell Beckham, jr.
- Stop the Run. Giving up 250 or so fewer yards rushing this week would be awesome. The Forty-Niners rank 9th in the NFL, averaging 122.11 yards per game on the ground. But they can also be stopped, as they are 24th in stuff percentage, getting tackled for no gain or a loss on running plays 10.23% of the time. If the Giants defensive line can get penetration, it can protect the depleted linebacking corps and secondary. If not, how much lower can the 32nd ranked rush defense in the NFL drop?
- Contain Colin Kaepernick. The Forty-Niners quarterback has gained 300 yards on 59 carries and is always a threat to respond to pressure by using his legs. San Francisco also uses the read option, which the Giants were nothing short of incompetent at defending last week in Seattle. The good news is, Perry Fewell “tweaked his schemes” to better defend it. A better solution would be to have linebacker Devon Kennard shadow Kaepernick all game. Shadowing worked against Randall Cunningham, it will work against Kaepernick. Tweaking a failed scheme won’t.
- Protect the Ball. San Francisco has 16 turnovers in 8 games. The Giants cannot afford to give the Forty-Niners any advantages. Kick returner Michael Cox is on injured reserve, meaning that twice fumbling Quintin Demps will likely be back in that role. He needs to take touchbacks if the ball is in the end zone. Even if it’s only two yards deep.
- Protect Manning. In their past 4 games, San Francisco has 10 sacks, after only tallying 4 in their first 4. And their pass rush get a boost from the return of suspended linebacker Aldon Smith who was activated for today’s game. The Giants beleaguered offensive line help up well under hostile conditions in Seattle, surrendering just two sack and giving Manning time to throw for most of the game. He will need it again if the Giants are to pull off the upset and avoid falling into complete irrelevance for 2014.
Once again, the trends and statistics don’t paint a pretty picture for the New York Giants, however, they are at home, and everyone is jumping off of them this week. A wagering adage in the NFL is “The time to jump on a team is when everyone is jumping off of them.” With Peyton Hillis going on injured reserve today, it marks the 15th player the Giants have lost for the season to injury. While they are capable of beating San Francisco, it will take a perfect effort, as injuries have left a talent gap between the two squads. A long as Eli Manning is under center, the Giants have a chance to win every game.