There are very few things the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants can do to illustrate and create actual progress for the franchise when they play each other on Sunday. Both teams are not competitive this year, and while tanking is something a professional organization typically doesn’t engage in, it’s actually the probable best tactic at this point.
Nothing either team can do will actually prove anything, and that’s what makes this game so bad. It isn’t so much that both teams are bad — they are — but anything that is accomplished was accomplished against either the 49ers or the Giants.
For the Giants, Eli Manning can get back in the saddle and recover from a rash of poor performances to solidify his standing with a franchise that is extremely grateful for what he’s done, but just about finished with him ... or maybe he can’t actually do that because it’s the 49ers.
When it comes to the 49ers, it’s not like C.J. Beathard can improve his standing and bid for a chance to be the starting quarterback next season. Jimmy Garoppolo is the heir apparent, and even if Beathard blows out the Giants ... it’s the Giants.
Then there’s Garoppolo, who isn’t slated to start but who could certainly come off the bench. But what would be the point for him to do so? If Beathard struggles and Garoppolo doesn’t, what does that prove? If Garoppolo impresses Kyle Shanahan, does that actually mean anything?
Of course, the fans come next. The fans could wind up being treated to a good football game — like when the 49ers played the Los Angeles Rams, a team that nobody knew was actually good at that point — but a loss is still a loss and a win is something that hurts the team’s ability to land one of the top college players in the nation.
Is there any way that anybody can win on Sunday?