Week three of the NFL season kicks off Thursday night in San Francisco with the New York Giants traveling to take on the 49ers. Both teams picked up a win in their last game and will look to continue the trend.
San Francisco’s Dominant Start
The 49ers (2-0) have been one of the top teams in the NFL through the first two weeks. The star-studded offense combined with a suffocating defense immediately puts them into the Superbowl conversation.
The three-headed monster of star running back Christian McCaffrey with receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk have proved difficult for defenses to handle. McCaffrey currently leads the NFL in rushing with 268 yards, 88 yards more than second place Bijan Robinson. Sophomore quarterback Brock Purdy has also looked good.
The defense includes two of the best players in the league in defensive lineman Nick Bosa and linebacker Fred Warner. Through two weeks, the defense ranks top five in rush defense and is first in the NFL in quarterback hurries with 21. Their pressure on the quarterback coupled with the elite tackling and field vision of their linebackers makes the opposition’s quarterback make decisions quickly, hoping to cause a mistake. This strategy has worked thus far, forcing four interceptions which is second among teams this season.
The niners are monitoring Aiyuk’s status for Thursday’s game with a shoulder injury, but even without him they are the heavy favorites. Expect the niners to come out strong in their home opener at Levi’s Stadium.
Offense showed out. pic.twitter.com/szss569JjD
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) September 18, 2023
The Giants’ Struggles
The New York Giants (1-1) haven’t had as successful of a start as they would have liked. After a divisional playoff round appearance last season, the Giants expected to build off that success and come into this season even better.
The Giants come into this game after an unconvincingly 31-28 win against the an Arizona Cardinals team expected to contend for the No. 1 pick in the draft this season. The Giants started the game down 20-0 before coming back off of the effort of running back Saquon Barkley’s two touchdowns before going down with an ankle injury late in the fourth quarter.
The offense’s struggles were even more apparent in week one against the Cowboys, where the Giants were held to a shutout in a 40-0 loss. The offense currently ranks in the bottom five in points scored and the bottom ten in total yards.
Inactives for Thursday’s game include Barkley, star tackle Andrew Thomas, and linebacker Azeez Ojulari. With Barkley being ruled out for the game this week, it will be difficult for the inconsistency of quarterback Daniel Jones and the unreliability of journeyman running back Matt Breida to make up for Barkley’s output, especially without the blocking of Thomas. Against a top-notch 49ers defense it will be a tall task to come away with a win Thursday night.
GIANTS STATUSES FOR TNF
RB Saquon Barkley (Ankle)
OL Ben Bredeson (Concussion)
OLB Azeez Ojulari (Hamstring)
T Andrew Thomas (Hamstring)
ILB Micah McFadden (Neck)
WR Wan’Dale Robinson (Knee) pic.twitter.com/QQ2aekKITl
— Dan Salomone (@Dan_Salomone) September 20, 2023
Battle in the Bay
This is a chance for both teams to prove themselves for the rest of the season. A win for the Giants could be a major statement of their trajectory for the rest of the season, even without Barkley. On the other hand, it could be a chance for the 49ers to prove their Superbowl contention with a big win against a struggling team.
The game will start in Levi’s Stadium at 8:15 and will be available to watch on Fox and Amazon Prime Video.