San Francisco 49ers (5-4 SU, 5-4 ATS) vs. New York Giants (3-6 SU, 3-6 ATS)
NFL Week 11
Date and Time: Sunday, November 16, 2014 at 1:00PM EST
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
by Scott, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: SF -4.5/NYG +4.5
Over/Under Total: 44
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On Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers come into East Rutherford to take on the New York Giants. San Francisco is coming off a huge win at the Superdome against the Saints that got them to 5-4 and gave them some much-needed hope and momentum. The Giants, however, are in the midst of an awful swoon, losing 4 straight games by a combined score of 136-62.
Its been a streaky season for the Giants. They lost their first two games, before going on a 3-game winning streak where they actually looked like a good team, which is hard to believe when looking at this team during their current 4-game losing streak. How could things have gone so south? The reasons are multifold. There appears to be a disconnect between the coaching staff and the players. They struggle massively at times in establishing a run-game, while the D is inept in stopping the run, ranked last in the league. Eli Manning has been okay from a statistical standpoint, but watching him, he looks off-rhythm in this new system.
Injuries and a general lack of effectiveness in the run-game have hurt, but the Giants aerial attack has been surprisingly subdued, despite some young receivers stepping up, like Odell Beckham, Jr. and Preston Parker. WR Rueben Randle is a handful, as is TE Larry Donnell, but this offense spends a lot of time stuck in the mud. You barely see Manning airing it out anymore, as he did during New Yorks glory period. Against Seattle on Sunday on the road, the Giants were hanging in there, taking a tie into the 4th quarter, before their 32nd-ranked run D totally collapsed, with the Seahawks winning 38-17 on a trio of 4th quarter touchdowns.
On the other hand, the Niners got a big win on Sunday, winning at one of the toughest places to play in the Superdome. They nearly blew it, letting the Saints take the lead after giving up a double-digit lead of their own. The Niners needed a late FG and and another one in overtime to get a win they really needed. With division teams like Arizona at 8-1 and Seattle at 6-3 and a wild card picture looking congested, another loss would have really put them behind the 8-ball. They take to the road again this Sunday, as they try to come back home the following week with headful of steam.
The 49ers scored 27 points on Sunday after scoring 24 the previous 2 games combined. Kaepernick was off-target, but made it count when he needed to, while getting a good performance from Frank Gore, who added a TD run. On one hand, their defense has played over their heads, ranking high in most areas despite a crippling amount of key personnel losses. Aldon Smith is due to return, but names like Patrick WIllis, NaVorro Bowman, and others remain out, rendering their LB crew a shadow of its former self. But theyve held up remarkably well. Their offense, in contrast, is a unit that seems to get very little out of what they have–a dual-threat QB, a good RB, a proven tight end in Davis, and 3 very serviceable receivers in Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree, and Stevie Johnson. Last Sunday at least offered some positive signs.
A faraway road game on the heels of a titanic road overtime struggle in the Superdome will be tough on the Niners. But one cant help but notice how they ratchet it up when the situation is at its most critical. Sunday offered a hint that they could be steeling themselves for a big second-half run. And while one may wonder about road fatigue after last week, the Niners will be facing a defense that has been making it easy on opposing offenses lately. The San Fran offense is not one you can count on, but they should be able to put up points against a Giants defense that at times looked like a ramshackle bunch. In terms of total yards, they are the last-ranked D in the NFL.
Like all teams, the Giants are better at home, where they are 2-2. The Cardinals beat them by 11 and Indy beat them by 16, while New York beat the Falcons and Texans. Its just a tough week for the Giants to be trying to find something extra. San Francisco is in a controlled form of panic-mode, knowing their margin for error is already pretty small. There are still 7 games left, with 2 being against Seattle. They cant absorb losses in games like this if they want to get to the postseason, where they have thrived in the past few seasons.
Watching the Giants the past few weeks, something is clearly wrong and it goes beyond mere execution on the field. This has been a strange season, where teams can flip the switch suddenly and with the championship-caliber people on the Giants, thats not an impossibility. But as of now, they seem a bit lost, disheartened, and unable to put together 4 quarters of good football. Im going with the Niners.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the San Francisco 49ers minus 4.5 points.