The next chapter in the storied rivalry between the (1-1) New York Giants and (2-0) San Francisco 49ers will take place Thursday night at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA.
After two impressive wins on the road over the Steelers and Rams, the 49ers will look for another dominant performance to show why they’re near the top of the power rankings. New York had to rally from a 20-0 halftime deficit to defeat the Cardinals on Sunday and will probably be without the services of Saquon Barkley due to a sprained ankle.
No matter the record of these two teams, they normally give us an entertaining game and Thursday night shouldn’t be any different. Here are five bold predictions for the game.
Darren Waller will catch 10 passes
Even if some miracle happens and Barkley is able to play, he’ll be hampered by his sprained ankle. This means Daniel Jones will have to rely more heavily on tight end Darren Waller.
“He’s been a good player. We’ve got to continue to find ways to use him and he’s got to go out there and continue to improve on the things we need him to improve on.” Head coach Brian Daboll said of his tight end.
Waller leads the team in receiving yards with 112 and is tied with Barkley for the team lead in receptions with nine. Due to his size and speed, he is the one player on New York’s offense that can consistently win his one-on-one matchups. Look for New York to line Waller up all across the field and go to him early and often. As a result, he’ll have 10 receptions on Thursday night.
Christian McCaffrey will rush for over 150 yards
McCaffrey is once again showing why he’s one of the most dynamic players in the NFL as he leads the league in rushing yards with 268 and is averaging an astonishing 6.4 yards per carry. He’s also caught six passes for 36 yards.
The Giants’ defense struggled last week stopping the run as John Conner rushed for 106 yards on 23 carries. McCaffrey is a far better back than Conner and San Francisco’s offensive line is vastly better than Arizona’s. The 27-year-old superstar back will have another brilliant performance as he’ll rush for over 150 yards.
New York’s defense will force two turnovers from Brock Purdy
One of the disappointments of the Giants this season is that the defense has yet to record a sack or force a turnover. So far this year Brock Purdy has yet to throw an interception but did lose a fumble against the Steelers in Week 1.
Knowing that his defense will have to force turnovers in order to pull off the upset, look for Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale to be even more bold and daring on Thursday night. That could even include Martindale’s defense forcing two turnovers from Purdy.
Deebo Samuel will have a running and receiving touchdown
McCaffrey is not the only versatile playmaker on the 49ers offense. Receiver Deebo Samuel can hurt you as a receiver and as a runner. The 215-pound receiver is fast and hard to tackle in the open field which makes him a threat to score from anywhere.
This season, Samuel has 11 receptions for 118 yards and has carried the ball seven times for 46 yards and a touchdown. On Thursday night, he’ll find the end zone twice, once as a pass catcher and once as a runner.
Nick Bosa will sack Daniel Jones three times
New York’s offensive line could be in shambles Thursday night as starting guard Ben Bredeson is expected to miss the game due to a concussion, and left tackle Andrew Thomas might miss his second consecutive game due to a pulled hamstring.
Keeping Daniel Jones upright against one of the best defensive fronts was going to be a daunting task even if the line was healthy. Now, the undermanned line will face a 49ers defense that already has six sacks on the season.
Surprisingly, none of those sacks are by the reigning Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa. San Francisco will have Bosa line up in various positions to exploit the Giants’ subpar offensive line, similar to the way Micah Parsons did in Week 1. Look for Bosa to sack Jones three times on Thursday night.
- Prediction: From both a talent and physicality standpoint, the Giants don’t match up well with the 49ers. They’ll play hard but will lose their second game of the season.
- 49ers 30, Giants 17