The San Francisco 49ers face a bad New York Giants team this coming Monday, but the Giants should put up a lot more of a fight than we saw from the Oakland Raiders last week. Eli Manning is running on fumes, but Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham, Jr., and Sterling Shepard will provide a stiff challenge to a 49ers defense that has shown signs of life, but is still inconsistent.
The 49ers have settled into Ahkello Witherspoon starting opposite Richard Sherman. Witherspoon struggled and was benched for a spell, but has started three straight games and looked fairly solid in them. And now Witherspoon will face a heck of a challenge against the Giants.
Witherspoon plays exclusively at right cornerback, while Sherman plays exclusively at left cornerback. The Giants move their receivers around, and it is safe to say OBJ will get a lot of work opposite Witherspoon. Sterling Shepard is the second starter, but spends most of his time in the slot. Bennie Fowler is technically the first receiver off the bench, and plays outside in the Giants three-receiver sets.
OBJ might want to challenge Sherman, but it would surprise me if he played even half his snaps on Sherman’s side. Sherman has come back to earth a little bit the past couple weeks, but he is still looking like a solid cornerback. With Witherspoon’s solid emergence lately, the Giants might mix it up a bit, but look for Witherspoon to be tested in a big way.
Witherspoon is ready for the challenge. He told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Jennifer Chan that he is, “[v]ery excited. To be the best, you have to beat the best. It’s a great opportunity, I’m excited.” And OBJ is one of the best. Witherspoon will get a chance to show if the past couple weeks are an exception, or if he is turning a corner after a rough start to the season.