We’ve polled San Francisco 49ers fans on whether the team would beat their Week 1 opponent, the Cardinals and Week 2 opponent, the Jets, and 90% of Niners fans think the team will win. Today, we preview the New York Giants. The Giants have some talented young players on both sides of the ball. Will that be enough to beat the reigning NFC champs?
Reason for: The Giants offense
The 2019 Giants offense was abysmal. They were bottom-10 in every offensive drive stat you could think of. Yards per drive, points per drive, turnovers per drive, you name it. New York had the second-worst time of possession per drive last season. No offense fumbled the ball more per drive than the Giants.
The 49ers were the opposite on defense.
Of those stats listed above, the worst the 49ers were ranked was 10th in time of possession. They were seventh in turnovers per drive. Outside of that, every other ranking was in the top four.
The Giants’ offensive coordinator is Jason Garrett, who hadn’t called plays since 2012 when he was stripped of those duties. Garrett’s history as a play-caller suggests New York will resemble more of a vertical offense. Second-year quarterback Daniel Jones completed 28% of his passes that traveled over 20 yards last season, per Football Outsiders Almanac. That ranked 25th out of 30 quarterbacks with at least 25 attempts. Jones has a gunslinger mentality that led to a wide range of outcomes last season. It looked ugly when it didn’t work and often made you wonder about Jones’s future as a quarterback. When these deep throws did work, Jones looked like a top-10 pick. Despite that low completion percentage on deep throws, Jones had the third-highest touchdown rate on deep passes, trailing only the two quarterbacks in the Super Bowl last season.
I’d be more worried about Darius Slayton and his big-play ability on the perimeter than Saquon Barkley running for 200 yards. Barkley’s early tenure with the Giants is further proof in the arguments saying, “you don’t draft running backs early.” Their rushing offense improved by 1.5% DVOA.
New York’s offensive line was 12th in blown blocks per snap last season, but their starting left tackle Nate Solder opted-out for this season. Across the line, they’re better run blockers and tend to struggle against speed and athleticism.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, the Giants offense doesn’t match up well anywhere against the 49ers.
Argument against: If the Giants defensive line controls the line of scrimmage
I try my best to be objective, but this is the worst matchup of the three games so far. Teams that will be San Francisco will do so this year because they have “a dude.” The Giants lack “dudes.” They have size up front on defense. Leonard Williams is a quality player, but he’s not worth $16 million. Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson, and B.J. Hill will create challenges upfront for the 49ers. Last year, the Giants defensive line was ranked seventh in adjusted line yards, and above average in each direction. You don’t want to get consistently behind the chains as an offense, and that’s the only way I could see New York posing a problem for the 49ers.
The good news, for the Niners, is the Giants added linebacker Blake Martinez who still has nightmares after what Kyle Shanahan did to him in two games last season.
Will the 49ers beat the Giants
This poll is closed