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Giants vs. 49ers: 10 things to watch for

Posted Nov 11, 2017

Here are 10 storylines to follow as the Giants get set for the 49ers: 

   
1. GO WEST

Historically one of the great rivalries in the NFL, the 2017 meeting between the 1-7 New York Giants and 0-9 San Francisco 49ers is the first time since 1984 that two teams playing in Week 10 or later have one combined win. The Giants lead the regular-season series, 16-15, and the teams are tied, 4-4, in the postseason. Three of the Giants’ four Super Bowl runs have gone through the 49ers, including the NFC Championship Games for the 1990 and 2011 seasons.

2. LAST MEETING

The Giants won their last meeting, 30-27, in Week 5 of the 2015 season at MetLife Stadium. In that game, Eli Manning led an eight-play, 82-yard comeback drive that resulted in a 12-yard touchdown to tight end Larry Donnell with 21 seconds remaining. In their last game at San Francisco, the Giants won, 26-3, on Oct. 14, 2012, less than nine months after winning the NFC Championship Game there. Sunday, however, will be the Giants’ first game at Levi’s Stadium, which opened in 2014.

3. IRON MANNING

Eli Manning will start his 208th consecutive regular-season game on Sunday, which will tie his brother Peyton for the second-longest streak in NFL history at quarterback. Brett Favre owns the record with 297. Eli also recently joined them in another exclusive club, becoming the seventh player in NFL history to throw for 50,000 yards. Peyton, Favre, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Dan Marino and John Elway are the others.

4. INJURY REPORT

Out: LB B.J. Goodson (ankle), LB Devon Kennard (quad), LB Keenan Robinson (quad)

Doubtful: CB Donte Deayon (ankle)

Questionable: LB Jonathan Casillas (neck), LB Calvin Munson (quad), DE Olivier Vernon (ankle), DE Kerry Wynn (knee)

5. SHEPPARD BACK IN

With three linebackers ruled out and two more questionable, Kelvin Sheppard will likely see game action just days after re-signing with the team. Sheppard, who played every game for the Giants in 2016 at middle linebacker, became a free agent at the end of last season and was not retained, paving the way for Goodson. Given the recent injuries, however, Sheppard was brought back this week and has not played since the preseason when he spent part of the summer with the Chicago Bears.


6. WILL GAROPPOLO PLAY?

Last week, the 49ers acquire quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in a trade with New England in exchange for San Francisco’s 2018 second-round draft pick. However, the plan is for rookie C.J. Beathard to make his fourth consecutive start on Sunday. But the Giants have a plan in place for both. “I’ll tell you, [Beathard is] a pretty good little player,” defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said. “Kyle [Shanahan] does some really good things with him and then we got the other thing we got to think about is if it’s a different quarterback. So, we got a couple things going on.”

7. BIG PLAYS, BIG PROBLEMS

The Giants are coming off a game in which they allowed 51 points and six plays of 35-plus yards, including five passes. The defense has now dropped to 30th in yards (391.1) and 29th in scoring (25.9). San Francisco’s offense enters Week 10 ranked 24th in yards (309.4) and 30th in scoring (15.9).


8. EVAN ALMIGHTY

Tight end Evan Engram is currently tied for first among all NFL rookies in touchdown catches (four) while ranking second in receiving yards (412) and third in receptions (34). The first-round draft choice needs one more touchdown to tie Bob Tucker (five in 1970) for the most by a rookie tight end in franchise history.

9. SHANAHAN IN SAN FRAN

Kyle Shanahan, who was tied up with a run to Super Bowl LI as the offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons, was the sixth and final new head coach hire in the NFL this past offseason. By Sunday night, the Giants will have faced four of them: Shanahan, Vance Joseph (Broncos), Anthony Lynn (Chargers) and Sean McVay (Rams). The Giants defeated the Broncos but fell to the Chargers and Rams.

10. JHT

Last week, Joan H. Tisch, the matriarch of the family that owns 50 percent of the franchise, passed away at the age of 90 after a brief illness. A funeral service was held this past Monday in Manhattan. In Mrs. Tisch’s memory, the Giants will wear her initials (JHT) on their uniform for the remainder of the season. Mrs. Tisch was the widow of Preston Robert “Bob” Tisch, who purchased a 50 percent share of the Giants in 1991. They have three children – Steve (the Giants’ chairman and executive vice president), Laurie (a member of the Giants board of directors) and Jonathan (the Giants’ treasurer) – as well as 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.