If the New York Giants are going to win their first game of the season against the 49ers on Sunday, several players must bring their A-game.
The New York Giants will look to get their first win of the season when they take on the injury-ravaged San Francisco 49ers in Week 3.
As bad as the injury bug has hit the Giants with the losses of Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard, it’s nothing compared to the 49ers’ health-related setbacks. Jimmy Garoppolo, Raheem Mostert, George Kittle, Tevin Coleman, Dee Ford, and Dre Greenlaw have already been ruled out for Sunday’s game. This is in addition to Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, and Richard Sherman hitting injured reserve.
Despite all of the injuries they suffered, the defending NFC champions are favored to win their second game in as many weeks at MetLife Stadium.
Trying to remember the last time I saw a team with this many significant players out, and this doesn’t include the 49ers who are on IR. pic.twitter.com/QzyQLkU7u5
— Jason Leach (@JasonKLeach) September 26, 2020
It’s pride-check time for the Giants. They need to find a way to come away with a win and avoid going 0-3.
Several players such as Daniel Jones and those on the offensive line must play better than they did in their first pair of games. Nonetheless, a few players will be X-Factors in this matchup and could ultimately decide the outcome.
Jabrill Peppers is a valuable player not just on the defense side of the ball but also as a punt returner. 49ers backup quarterback Nick Mullens will often look to utilize tight end Jordan Reed, who leads the team in receptions. Part of Peppers’ defensive responsibilities will be to keep Reed in check and additionally help stop the run.
With the Giants offense struggling, New York is going to need big plays from its special teams unit. This week, Joe Judge said he feels Peppers is close to breaking a long punt return. If Jabrill can do just that or even return one for a touchdown, it will bode well for Big Blue.
With Barkley out, Darius Slayton is the team’s most explosive offensive player. After a huge Week 1, a game in which he recorded six receptions for 102 yards and two touchdowns, Slayton was held in check last week against the Bears, having only caught three balls for 33 yards.
This will be the second-year wideout’s first test as the offensive unit’s go-to guy, and he should be Jones’ primary option this week and for the remainder of the season. Slayton may not have a 14-reception day like DeAndre Hopkins had against the 49ers secondary in Week 1, but he should undergo a bounce-back game.
We knew Judge had trust in Dion Lewis from their time together in New England, and that was proven last week when the veteran was the only active running back aside from Barkley (with the exception of Elijhaa Penny, who’s more of a fullback).
The Giants signed Devonta Freeman this past week, but it’s expected that Lewis will get the bulk of the carries on Sunday. In addition, Lewis will be a viable pass-catching option out of the backfield. The New York Jets were able to rush for over 100 yards against the 49ers defense last week, and if the Giants are going to do the same, Lewis will be a significant part of it.
Blake Martinez is off to a great start in his first season with Big Blue, as he leads the team with 21 combined tackles. Nonetheless, he did lose Bears running back David Montgomery on his 28-yard touchdown reception last week.
The 49ers will look to get the ball in the hands of running back Jerick McKinnon any way they can. It Martinez can just shut him down, it’s hard to envision San Francisco’s offense having much success against this Giants defense.