Oh, wait. That’s right; everybody’s injured.
I’ll explain to you all why we are going to be 2-1 coming out of this game, though!
Hang on, Niners Nation; it’s about to be a bumpy ride.
Why the 49ers will win:
This may be a bold take, but hear me out: I think Nick Mullens ends this game with four touchdowns and a 74% completion percentage or better. Look for Jerick McKinnon to be heavily involved in the pass game, as well as the run, this week. I would expect to see a fair amount of Kyle Juszczyk this weekend as well. He can be a monster in the passing game and work as a good dump-off target with George Kittle once again ruled out.
With or without Kittle, the 49ers should look to continue utilizing Jordan Reed, who hauled in two touchdowns last week along with seven catches. Throw in Brandon Aiyuk as well, and the heroes of this game will be some faces we aren’t used to seeing.
On defense, I see more of a struggle with both Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas out. The flip side to this is that the Giants’ Saquon Barkley is injured, as well. New addition Ezekiel Ansah gets in his first game action for the 49ers, but is largely ineffective. I’d look for Kwon Alexander to make a big play that seals this game late. I’m thinking he’ll blow up a run in the backfield on 3rd-and-short to end a potential game-winning drive by the Giants.
The Giants’ running backs were anemic in Week 2 on offense, with no reason to think they would be better sans Barkley. Dion Lewis averaged a whopping two yards per carry last week, and freshly-signed Devonta Freeman is coming off a down year where he averaged 3.6 yards per carry.
Why the Giants will win:
Yes, Saquon Barkley is out, but Daniel Jones and Sterling Shepard have been building chemistry lately. Shepard has eight catches for 76 yards so far this year. Evan Engram is shaping into one of the league’s premiere tight ends. With a lack of pass rush, he’ll have time to find holes in coverage for a monster day.
New signing Devonta Freeman turns out to already be in game shape, and could have a monster day against a depleted front-seven for the 49ers. If he comes out looking like the Freeman of old, it’ll spell trouble.
However, the biggest reason I could see the Giants winning is due to this field — literally. Last week, the Niners suffered six injuries on this same playing surface. I know the NFL did their investigation and said the field is fine, but I’m not buying it. Any other major injuries to key starters, and we may not just lose this game — we may lose the season.
I think the San Francisco 49ers win a close, high-scoring game. We have too many injuries to starters, and the Giants defense is just plain bad. To me, the key is getting out of here healthy. Whether due to bad luck, or bad field conditions, I am terrified of MetLife Stadium.
At this point, I just want to get Week 3 in the books and move on to brighter pastures.