New York Giants ( 3-2 SU, 2-2-1 ATS) vs. San Francisco 49ers (4-1 SU, 4-1 ATS)
NFL Week 6
Date/Time: Sunday, October 14/4:25 PM EST
Where: Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA
TV: FOX/DirecTV 713
by Vesper Abadon, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: NYG +5/SF -5
Over/Under Total: 44.5
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Game of the week anyone? The defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants, who’re currently 3-2, will travel across the country this week to take on the 4-1 San Francisco 49ers in a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship. That game was one for the ages, and this one might be too. In any case, this matchup will likely have an impact in the NFC come playoff time.
Both the 49ers and Giants are coming off big wins, albeit against less than stellar teams. Alex Smith threw for a season-high 303 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-3 rout of the Buffalo Bills, which also saw the team put up 621 total yards, a franchise record. Meanwhile, the Giants went down 14-0 early against the Cleveland Browns, but stormed back to win 41-27 thanks to career days from both Victor Cruz and Ahmad Bradshaw. The former caught three touchdowns, while the latter rushed for a career-high 200 yards and a touchdown. Bradshaw’s performance was especially impressive considering he had just 132 yards on the season entering the game.
Speaking of the run game, the Giants currently rank 12th with 120.2 yards/game (YPG) in on the ground, but the 49ers are first with 195.8 YPG thanks to Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter, who each average 5.4 yards/carry. In regards to Gore, he has rushed 80 times for 432 yards and four touchdowns, while Hunter has 37 carries, 201 yards, and a touchdown. The Giants allow an average of 111.4 YPG on the ground, so the 49ers will be prepared to run it up-literally.
With that said, the Giants are 9-0 when Bradshaw rushes for 100 yards or more. It’ll be tough for Bradshaw to repeat his Week 5 success, especially against a 49ers’ defense that allows an average of just 81.4 YPG, but if he can keep the ball rolling there will be a big battle on the ground.
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While the 49ers have the edge on the ground, the Giants have it through the air; in fact, the latter is ranked third in the league with 309 YPG, which is far and away better than the former’s 27th ranked pass attack with 205.4 YPG. The Giants’ passing attack is lead by Eli Manning, who had went 128 of 197 for 1,579 yards, ten touchdowns and five interceptions for a rating of 96.0, but the real story is the red-hot start of Cruz, who has 37 catches for 438 yards (11.8 yards/reception) and five touchdowns. What’s more, when defenses focus on Cruz, Manning is able to utilize the rest of the receiving corps which includes Martellus Bennett’s (19 catches for 217 yards and three touchdowns) and Hakeem Nicks (14 catches for 237 yards and one touchdown).
Even though the 49ers have struggled through the air, they are coming off a solid performance last week where Smith had his third game of 300 yards or more. That included solid performances by Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis, who each had 100-yard days. What it essentially boils down to is that the Giants will need a big day on the ground to go toe to toe with the 49ers, while the 49ers will need one through the air.
Vesper Abadon’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This game has all the makings of being quite the show. Both teams have an arsenal of weapons on both sides of the ball, and it’s going to be interesting to see how they’re employed. I can see this game being a low-scoring defensive battle of field position, but I can also see it being a full-blown shootout. I imagine it’ll get off to a slow start with each team trying to establish the run, but will eventually turn into an aerial affair. My gut tells me it’ll turn out to be a high-scoring match, one that could go either way, but I do believe the 49ers will eek this one out. They’re motivated to avenge last year’s NFC Championship loss and show the world that they’re Super Bowl contenders by beating the Super Bowl champs. I wouldn’t bet against that.
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