|The Ultimate World Cup of Hockey Preview||LeBron James: A Performance for the Ages||RIP Muhammad Ali: The GOAT||Steph and the Warriors came out to play|
Remember the Cardiac Cats in 2003? Well, this may be the year of the Jittery Giants. Five of the team’s six wins have come on fourth quarter drives, including last week’s thriller against the New England Patriots. However, in this week’s game against the San Francisco 49ers, the G-men can’t afford to wait until the fourth quarter to pounce. The key here is to get on top early and battle it out.
The 49ers have the best run defenses in the game, and the Giants’ No. 1 rushing option, Ahmad Bradshaw, is still out with a broken foot. This means Eli Manning will have to command the offense and basically continue doing exactly what he’s been doing all season: winning. Manning is physically and psychologically tough, and I would argue he means more to his team than any other player in football right now (except maybe his brother, Peyton).
On the flip side, 49er Frank Gore has emerged as the leader of his generation of rushers. Combined with Alex Smith’s poise, Gore has pummeled defenses into submission. The 49ers can eat clock which will limit the chances of another game-saving fourth quarter drive by Manning and Co.
That means linebackers Justin Tuck and Michael Boley will need to close off the rushing lanes to keep the 49ers from trampling down field. Boley had a monster game against the Patriots last week, tallying 10 tackles. He’ll need another huge day for the Giants to win.
Right now, the 49ers and Giants are second and third in the NFC. Realistically, no one will unseat the undefeated, defending champion Green Bay Packers so the battle for second place is vital to these two teams. A Week 10 victory could mean a bye week for the Giants, a crucial time for the aging team to recover from injuries.
The rest of the season will be tough for the Giants. Hopefully the momentum from last week’s win at New England will propel them over the better teams down the line.