A week after dealing with Drew Brees and his band of merry receivers, the 49ers defense gets a matchup against Eli Manning and a pretty slick group of receivers. While the New Orleans Saints offense was pretty impressive at the Superdome, Eli and his crew of receivers can do damage just about anywhere. Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham scare me plenty more than most all the other receiver groups that were in the playoffs this year.
As the 49ers get ready to face the Giants on Sunday, there are two significant issues for the 49ers defense. One would be dealing with those three receivers and whatever else the Giants want to throw at the 49ers. The other would be actually getting pressure on Eli. The Packers struggled mightily with that. They got one sack and seven hits on Eli, but there were too many times where he seemed to have all day in the pocket to make plays.
Ideally the 49ers would get pressure on Eli and also take away his receivers with some great coverage. You could make arguments that good pressure forces quick throws or great coverage gives the pass rush time to develop. For the 49ers, I would think getting pressure is more important. They have solid corners, but I think guys like Justin Smith, Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks are more apt to get pressure a little bit quicker, rather than hoping the secondary can maintain their assignments while Eli is taking his time figuring out where to throw.
Does one matter more than the other when you can't get both, or is it much like a chicken versus egg type of deal?