This week’s Monday night game doesn’t give us the most compelling matchup, but both teams should see this game as an opportunity to score one in the win column as the San Francisco 49ers host the New York Giants. At home, the 49ers are listed as 3.5-point favorites. There is also an over/under of 45 points.
The 49ers are actually coming off a rare win. Last Thursday, San Francisco took care of business and then some in a 34-3 blowout of the Oakland Raiders. In his first career start, Nick Mullens led the way for the 49ers, completing 16 of his 22 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns. At 2-7, it’s too late for the 49ers to make anything of their season, but it was a nice win nonetheless.
The Giants are also coming off a week in which they did not lose, although that comes courtesy of their bye. Big Blue is still in the middle of a five-game losing streak that has dropped them to 1-7 on the season. It’s been another lost season for the Giants who have traded away a have already started to turn the page on 2018 and look ahead toward next season.
Staying the Course
Despite the Giants wanting to look ahead to next season, Eli Manning remains the starting quarterback ahead of Monday’s game. Manning has had a rough season in large part to a disastrous offensive line in front of him. He’s been sacked 31 times in eight games and has been forced to throw the ball away countless times to avoid sacks. The Giants are constantly playing behind the chains, which is obviously making it difficult to sustain drives and score points.
The San Francisco defense isn’t particularly good statistically, although it’s worth mentioning that they haven’t received much support from their offense this season. The 49ers are averaging close to three sacks per game, so they should be able to take advantage of New York’s porous offensive line. San Francisco’s defense has also been good against the run, specifically preventing the big play, which should help them contain Saquon Barkley.
But How Good Is He Really?
Of course, the biggest question for Monday’s game is the play of Mullens. He played great against the Raiders, but that performance was against a defense that was nothing short of atrocious. The Giants are far from perfect defensively, but they will surely create more resistance against Mullens and the San Francisco offense than they saw against Oakland.
The key, as usual, will be San Francisco’s ability to run the ball. Raheem Mostert was lost for the season after a couple of monster games but Matt Breida should be close to fully healthy. Breida is averaging 5.5 yards per carry on the season despite a few off weeks while battling a nagging injury. If he can get back to running the way he did early in the year, the 49ers should be able to keep Mullens in his comfort zone and not ask too much of him.
Exercise in Futility
The fact that the 49ers have lost twice this season to the Cardinals is a little unnerving. It doesn’t help that the spread has grown to greater than a field goal. That’s a little too much to swallow for a 2-7 team. Bet on the Giants beating the 3.5-point spread Monday night, even if they lose the game.