If there was ever a week for the NY Giants’ rushing attack to get back on track, it’s this week against a banged-up 49ers defense.
Most expected the NY Giants to have one of the better offenses in the entire NFL in 2020 — I know I did.
However, the team’s 32-ranked rushing attack has been the unit’s Achilles’ heel so far this season and it’s going to have to get on track fast if Big Blue plans on being a functional offense.
Luckily, the San Fransisco 49ers defense could not be banged up as they as missing key starters in Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, Dre Greenlaw, Dee Ford, and Richard Sherman. Four of those players have a direct effect on the run defense as Bosa, Thomas, and Greenlaw play a major factor in slowing down the opposition’s rushing attacks.
Dee Ford is more of a straight-up pass rusher, but he’s a better run defender than given credit for and the 49ers will in effect be trotting out an entirely new defensive line against the NY Giants on Sunday.
Even when they had those players on the field the 49ers were struggling to slow down opponent’s run games. Currently, San Fransisco ranks 27th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed and 16th in yards-per-carry surrendered (4.4).
If the NY Giants could average that 4.4 yards-per-carry it would be a godsend for a unit that is struggling just to get the ball back to the line of scrimmage.
So far in 2020, the Big Blue rushing “attack” is ranked dead-last by a mile in rushing average with a paltry 2.7 pards-per-attempt.
We all knew that the young NY Giants’ offensive line would likely struggle out of the gates with a condensed training camp and no preseason action, but the O-line should start coming together soon and it very well could be against the 49ers.
How much of a factor will Devonta Freeman be in his NY Giants debut?
All eyes will be on the newly-signed Devonta Freeman as it’s very much up in the air as to how much he will play in his NY Giants debut. Hopefully, Freeman stayed in shape while he was a free agent and it’s a solid bet that he did.
Even though he won’t have a terrific grasp of the playbook, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett has to be getting desperate at this point and I’d expect him to get at least 50% of the carries even though he’s been with the team for just a few days.
Freeman has proven himself to be a hard-nosed runner that likes to run between the tackles which will be a nice change-up from Saquon Barkley (I’m looking for some positives here…work with me).
He’s also a very dangerous receiving threat and a solid pass blocker, so as long as his endurance isn’t an issue he should get plenty of opportunities to prove it was a good idea to bring in the veteran.
Dion Lewis will still get his fair amount of snaps, but his limitations have been exposed this season in terms of being able to pick up tough yardage. Even at his best Lewis is more of a scatback, but it’s been near impossible for him to get anything going behind this NY Giants’ offensive line.
After (puzzlingly) being a healthy scratch last week, fourth-year pro Wayne Gallman should in fact suit up tomorrow as the team can’t rely only on Lewis and a potentially out of shape Devona Freeman.
Gallman is very much fighting for his future with not just the NY Giants, but the NFL in general, so if he does get any carries tomorrow it will be crucial for him to be productive.