At the beginning of the season, the San Francisco 49ers week ten matchup with the New York Giants looked as though it would be one of the more challenging games for the 49ers. Instead, it appears to be the best chance for the 0-9 49ers to get their first win on the season. While this game will have zero playoff implications, it will have immense draft implications. A 49ers loss essentially guarantees them a top two pick in the upcoming draft. A 49ers win could result in the Giants leapfrogging the 49ers in the draft order, but would also do wonders for the morale of the young team. There are three keys to victory the 49ers must follow if they hope to capitalize on the weakest opponent left on their schedule.
Week 10 San Francisco 49ers Keys to Victory
One of the more depressing elements of this 49ers season has been the number of injuries. 2017 was supposed to be a year where a lot of rookies and young players were given an opportunity to contribute meaningful snaps. Instead, a fair share of promising players have suffered significant injuries, thwarting the 49ers developmental plans.
The 49ers have placed more players on the Injured Reserve than any other team. In fact, through week nine, they have already had more players go on the Injured Reserve than they have had in the entirety of their past five seasons. Several key players on both sides of the ball will be out for the season. Most of these injuries are random and unpreventable, so it is unlikely that this issue can be traced back to the training staff.
Among the most significant impact injuries are starting safeties Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt, both with broken forearms. Ward possess the skills and traits to play the all-important single high safety in Robert Saleh’s defense. Tartt was the 49ers best coverage man on the season. The 49ers are already fielding a team of reserves. They will need the few playmakers they have left to stay healthy in order to beat the Giants.
Put in Jimmy G
Rarely does a blockbuster trade like the Jimmy Garoppolo trade take place during the season. An intriguing aspect is that quarterbacks are not plug and play players, and need time to learn the playbook and offensive terminology. Kyle Shanahan’s advanced playbook does not help the process. There has been a lot of speculation when Garoppolo will finally see the field. If the 49ers are serious about winning, Garoppolo will need to make an impact against the Giants.
C.J. Beathard has not played well since taking over for Brian Hoyer. Of all the starting quarterbacks in the NFL, Beathard only grades out higher than DeShone Kizer of the Cleveland Browns. The one aspect that Beathard has been praised for his toughness. He has taken sixteen sacks, and is taking a beating even when not sacked. A common argument for leaving Garoppolo on the bench would be to save him from him from the sacks. However, Garoppolo’s skill set should allow for him to succeed, even with a poor offensive line.
Garoppolo has a fast release, and is a master of quick reads. Even with his limited knowledge of the playbook, he should be able to get the ball to his receivers before the pass rush can get to him. The 49ers acquired Garoppolo because they believe he can be their franchise quarterback. Instead of continuing the losing with Beathard, the 49ers should signify they are ready to start winning games, and try to beat the Giants with the best quarterback on the roster.
Take Advantage of the Turmoil
Very few experts predicted success for the 49ers in 2017. Therefore, the fact that they are winless is not that surprising or disappointing. The same cannot be said for the Giants. Coming off a year in which they made the playoffs, many predicted the Giants would again reach the postseason, or at the very least, compete for a playoff spot. The fact the Giants have only won one game on the season is an incredible disappointment.
Rumors have been swirling, and suggest the Giants may be in for a massive overhaul. Ben McAdoo appears on the way out as head coach. With the Giants expecting to be drafting very high in the draft, they appear to be in position to draft one of the top quarterbacks, which would signify the end of the Eli Manning era. The Giants players have to be hearing these rumors, and this could lead to them being distracted.
The 49ers may be bad, but they play hard whistle to whistle. All of the young players and replacements are trying to take advantage of their playing time, and prove they deserve a roster spot. If they play hard on Sunday, they could catch the distracted Giants off guard. There are not many great opportunities for the 49ers to get their first win of the season, but the Giants provide the best opportunity.