06302022

Inside the Playbook: 49ers (5-4) at Giants (3-6)

Niners OLB Aldon Smith can still wreck a game.
Niners OLB Aldon Smith can still wreck a game.





49ERS AT GIANTS


AT METLIFE STADIUM


When: 1 P.M.


Line: 49ers by 4


TV: Ch. 5, (Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch)


RADIO: WFAN-660 AM, 101.9 FM (Bob Papa, Carl Banks, Howard Cross), In Spanish on WADO-1280 AM (Nelson Rosario, Frances Adames), Nationwide on ESPN Radio (Marc Kestecher, Bill Polian)


FORECAST: Upper 40s, cloudy, 11 mph winds


KEY MATCHUP
LT Will Beatty vs. OLB Aldon Smith


The 49ers’ bad boy hasn’t played all year so he’ll be rested but rusty and while the 49ers are playing it coy with how many snaps he’ll have, their sagging pass rush desperately needs what he provides (42 sacks his first three seasons). Outside of the Eagles game, the Giants O-line has protected Eli Manning pretty well, and Beatty has been their most consistent in that regard. The best strategy would be to stay out of third-and-long.


INJURY REPORT

The Niners get back a huge part of their battered defense in pass rushing OLB Aldon Smith, who has finished serving a nine-game suspension. He’ll be used situationally with Aaron Lynch getting his second career start for Dan Skuta (ankle). Pressure will be key because the 49ers will play without two of their top CBs, Tramaine Brock (hamstring) and first-round pick Jimmie Ward (foot), throwing rookie Dontae Johnson in the mix against the slot. LB linebacker Patrick Willis (toe) is done for the year. For the Giants, RB Peyton Hillis is out for the season, but RB Rashad Jennings is expected back for the first time since injuring his knee in Week 5. He won’t get a full load but the Giants have missed his tough inside running. The Giants will miss the speed and range of LB Jacquain Williams (concussion) against the read option.


SCOUT SAYS

“Defending the read-option isn’t as hard as the Giants made it look. The defensive end, linebackers and safeties have to figure out who takes the runner and who takes the quarterback and then they’ve got to play their assignment. Everybody crashed on Marshawn Lynch because they couldn’t tackle him. Frank Gore’s easier to bring down. They should be sounder this week. (Colin) Kaepernick should be further along by now. He still has the arm to make all the throws, he still has the legs, but his decision-making process has been questionable and he’s made some poor throws.”


INTANGIBLES

The Giants’ season is heading to the graveyard and their bottom-ranked defense has been the hearse. Still, defensive coordinator Perry Fewell was whistling this week about pulling off an upset. You might think he’s turned into Jason Pierre-Paul, who has been talking big and playing small all year. But there’s some logic in Fewell’s thinking and it’s more about the 49ers’ inconsistencies than any faith one might have in Big Blue. This coast-to-coast trip sets up a classic trap game for the Nines off their overtime win in New Orleans last week. At 5-4, they’ve got a tough road to the playoffs and are calling each week a one-game season.


PREDICTION
Giants: 22-20


We’re climbing out on Perry Fewell’s limb. Timber?




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