The upcoming week three matchup pits our 49ers against the New York Football Giants. Two teams still dealing with the emotional toll from losing one of their best players. Nick Bosa for the Niners and Saquon Barkley for the Giants. Two teams navigating similar catastrophic injuries but with different aspirations for this season. One, earning invitation to the Super Bowl. The other, establishing an identity with a second year Quarterback and a rookie Head Coach. The question becomes, how will these injuries and the state of each franchise affect the outcome of Sunday’s showdown in the Meadowlands?
Reports say, the MetLife turf passed inspection and meets the NFLs requirements for artificial surfaces. Thanks for the “vote of confidence”, but that doesn’t mean it is a good surface. As someone who has played on multiple surfaces, I wholeheartedly believe the players who had doubts about the MetLife turf even in pregame warmups. The evidence proves that this surface is not kind to players wearing Red and Gold. As Trent Williams reiterated in his press conference, it will be on the players minds. There is always a chance that players may not warmup at the normal pace and intensity. Even worse, there is a possibility that some players may not give 100% effort once the whistle blows. I don’t believe that will be the case. I expect this team to come out and play with a controlled sense of urgency. I am careful to use controlled instead of cautious. I have to believe the words from Kyle Shanahan and Robert Saleh. I have to believe the sentiments from Trent and Fred Warner. When the game begins, the players will control what they can control, with a focus on executing the game plan. One play at a time, beating the man in front of them. Worrying about the turf will distract from that mission. Despite the human emotions, I believe this team is too mature to allow those worries to dictate how the play.
I expect Nick Mullens to have a solid performance. One that looks completely different from his second half showing last week. With all of the first-team reps and more time with the game plan, Nick will prove why the 49ers informed inquiring teams he’s not available. The Giants are ranked 4th in total defense. Don’t worry, I’m sure you’re not, because it’s early and those numbers are deceptive. While they rank 2nd against the pass, they rank 23rd against he run. Even without Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman, Kyle will run the football. Jerrick McKinnon has proved that he can make plays. Jeff Wilson Jr. will be able to pound the rock and wear the Giants front seven down. Additionally, Kyle stated on KNBR today that Jamycal Hasty will likely be called up from the practice squad. I anticipate him being in the mix with this offense as well. What does this mean for Mullens? One, he doesn’t have to shoulder the load by himself. Two, he can have success in the play action game as that is one of his strengths. In week one Big Ben threw for 229 yards and 3 touchdowns, completing 21 of 32 passes. Even Mitchell Trubisky was able to be effective against the Giants defense. Mullens will be fine.
I expect George Kittle to…well, I don’t know what to expect from George Kittle. His cryptic presser on Thursday didn’t provide any information as to his status for Sunday’s game. Coach Shanahan did mention that if there was any hesitation in today’s practice that he would not go. On a recent show, Mike and Breezie debated Nick and Brian about whether Kittle should play against the Giants on that horrendous MetLife turf. While both sides made great arguments for and against, Kittle is a difference maker when on the field. And would be a go to target for Nick Mullens who is making his first start since 2018. If Kittle can go, that will make Mullens job much easier and my above expectation for him even more attainable. Could Kittle’s inability to confirm or deny his availability for Sunday be due to some misinformation he previously provided Mike Silver about the same topic? We shall see…
In a Tweet from Nick Wagoner, George Kittle has been ruled out for Sunday’s game. Check the tweet here:
I expect to see multiple sacks this weekend from this retooled defensive front. If there was ever a game to get after the quarterback and let your opponents know that pass rush is still a strength for this team, Sunday’s contest is that game. Through two weeks the Giants offensive line has given up seven sacks, three in Week One and four in Week Two. Arik Armstead will lead the charge and will his guys to play well. Kerry Hyder seems ready to a step forward and solidify his spot on this line. Ziggy Ansah and Dion Jordan are athletic veterans who will benefit from the youth and inexperience on the Giants offensive line. DJ Jones and Javon Kinlaw should get a significant push up the middle and not allow Daniel Jones to step up in the pocket. I think we’ll see four or more sacks this weekend. The Giants inability to run the ball effectively and likely playing from behind, will give the Niner front more opportunities to rush the passer and get him to the ground.
Ultimately, I expect a win on Sunday. The 49ers are the better team with more talent despite all the injuries. Kyle will have this team mentality prepared to play this game no matter the field conditions. The flight back west will feel much better sitting at 2-1.
Hit me up on Twitter @AgentMose and let me know some of your expectations for Sunday’s game.
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