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10 things to watch: Giants host 49ers in Week 3


Everything you need to know about the Week 3 matchup between the Giants and 49ers:

Series History

The Giants and 49ers have met 41 times combined in the regular season and postseason. The Giants have 21 victories, the 49ers have 20. In those 41 games, they are separated by only five points (Giants 843, 49ers 838).

The Giants and 49ers have split their last four games dating back to 2014, with each team winning once at home and once on the road. They last faced each other on Monday night, Nov. 12, 2018 in Santa Clara, where Eli Manning's three-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard with 53 seconds remaining in the game capped a 75-yard drive and gave the Giants a 27-23 victory.

Last Time Out

The Giants dropped to 0-2 after a 17-13 loss in Chicago, a game in which they trailed 17-0 at halftime. It was the first time they lost despite shutting out their opponent in the second half since Nov. 21, 2004 vs. Atlanta – Eli Manning's first start at quarterback. The Giants have allowed 43 points through two games; last year, they allowed 63 in the first two weeks.

San Francisco, meanwhile, improved to 1-1 in their quest to defend the conference crown by defeating the New York Jets, 31-13, at MetLife Stadium. The 49ers are one of three teams in the NFL (Rams and Vikings) to score on each of their opening possessions in the first two games, coming away with a 52-yard Robbie Gould field goal in Week 1 and an 80-yard touchdown run by Raheem Mostert on the first play from scrimmage last week against the Jets. In 2019, when they reached the Super Bowl, the 49ers scored 54 points on their opening possessions, tied with Kansas City and Oakland for the second-most in the league. Baltimore led with 64.

Injury Report

Week 2 was unkind to the 49ers on the injury front, as it was to the Giants, who saw Saquon Barkley suffer a season-ending knee injury and Sterling Shepard leave with turf toe. San Francisco lost defensive linemen Nick Bosa, the 2019 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and Solomon Thomas for the year due to knee injuries. The injuries didn't stop there. Starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered an ankle injury and was ruled out for Sunday. Below is a look at the complete injury report:

New York Giants

Doubtful: DB Adrian Colbert (quad)

Questionable: DB Brandon Williams (groin)

San Francisco 49ers

Out: RB Tevin Coleman (knee), DE Dee Ford (back), QB Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle), LB Dre Greenlaw (quad), TE George Kittle (knee), RB Raheem Mostert (knee)

Questionable: CB Ahkello Witherspoon (hamstring)

Giants Sign RB Devonta Freeman

The Giants' newest running back is a former two-time Pro Bowler with a long track record of success. Devonta Freeman, who played his first six NFL seasons for the Atlanta Falcons, joined the Giants, one day after Barkley was placed on injured reserve with a torn right anterior cruciate ligament. In a corresponding move, the Giants placed Shepard on injured reserve with turf toe. He is eligible to be reinstated to the roster after missing three games.

Freeman, 5-8 and 206 pounds, has played in 77 regular-season games with 59 starts and has started all five postseason games in which he played. His career totals include 951 rushing attempts for 3,972 yards (4.2-yard avg.) and 32 touchdowns with a long run of 75 yards, plus 257 receptions for 2,015 yards and 11 scores. Freeman has 5,987 career yards from scrimmage.

Freeman was selected to the Pro Bowl after both the 2015 and 2016 seasons, when he totaled 2,135 rushing yards, 127 catches and 27 touchdowns. His 11 rushing touchdowns in 2015 led the NFL.

QB Nick Mullens to Start for 49ers

Nick Mullens has started eight previous games in his career, including a 2018 meeting with the Giants. He threw one touchdown and two interceptions before the Giants won on a last-minute touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Sterling Shepard.

Shanahan's Offense

Kyle Shanahan's 49ers get a lot of attention for their defense, but don't forget their offense in 2019 ranked first in the NFL in rushing touchdowns (23), second in points per game (29.9) and rushing yards per game (144.1), and fourth in total offense (381.1 yards per game). They finished the regular season with 479 total points, tied for the second-most in franchise history and the most since 1994 (505). Also worth noting, this is the franchise of Bill Walsh, Joe Montana and Steve Young. San Francisco also had 13 different players with at least one touchdown reception on the season, which tied the NFL record for the most players with a touchdown reception in a single season.

View rare photos of the history between the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers.

NFL Scoring at All-Time High

Through the first two weeks of the 2020 NFL season, there have been 186 total touchdowns and 1,611 total points scored, both the most in NFL history through Week 2.

What's the Rush?

The Giants have six sacks through two games, tied for fifth-most in the NFL and double the number they had at this point last season (three). They are on pace for 48 for the season, 12 more than they had in 2019 (36). The 49ers have three this season.

Bradberry Flourishing

Cornerback James Bradberry leads the NFL with six passes defensed, one more than Chicago rookie Jaylon Johnson. He had the best game of his five-year NFL career on Sunday against the Bears en route to a 93.1 coverage grade, according to PFF, which also named him the Defensive Player of the Week. On 33 coverage snaps, Bradberry allowed just one catch for 14 yards on six targets while intercepting one and breaking up another three. He shadowed Chicago's WR1 Allen Robinson II and effectively shut him down (all of the production above came against Robinson).

Slayton, Engram Stepping Up

Without Barkley and Shepard, the Giants will have to step up collectively to fill the playmaking void. Since 2019, wide Darius Slayton leads the NFL with four games of multiple receiving touchdowns. Tight end Evan Engram, meanwhile, rebounded with six catches for 65 yards last week, all of which came in the second half.


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