Sunday’s 49ers opponent, the NY Giants, are on a bit of a roll. They have won three straight games. A squeaker at home over Buffalo, another home squeaker versus Miami, and a road squeaker over the Patriots. Perhaps they should change their name from Giants to Mighty Mice.
Before this modest winning streak began, the Mice had lost at home to Seattle! and on the road at Washington! Cough. Cough.
The Mice and their East Coast propaganda machine would have the world believe they are a big time team after their win against the Patriots. Their 6-2 record, however, has been achieved during the easy part of their schedule. They could easily lose the next four games to the powerful 49ers, the streaky and desperate Eagles, the Saints in New Orleans, and at home versus Green Bay. Instant 6-6 record and a frantic effort to squeak into the playoffs down the home stretch.
For the 49ers, this game is mostly a status game. A chance to increase their own self-confidence and measure themselves against a playoff type team. A loss would not be devastating and a win would only cement their standing as the number two team in the NFL.
For the first time this year, the top seeded FOX broadcast team will cover a 49er game. Whether Troy Aikman and Joe Buck deserve to be a number one team for a TV network will not be discussed here, although clever readers may detect an eyeball roll wafting over the keyboard whilst this sentence is getting pecked out. I mention this only because you can be sure the 49er players are very aware of this bump up the prestige ladder and will be wanting to put on a good show. If they do, the next time this crew covers a Niner game it will be because they are THE NINERS and not because they are an interesting opponent for THE MICE.
The Giants quarterback is the self-proclaimed Elite Manning. Manning can throw elite passes, whereas the 49ers QB, Ordinary Smith, can only elitely manage games. Manning is 6-2, Smith is 7-1. A win by Manning Sunday will vault him into a tie for eliteness, whereas a loss will give Smith a commanding two game elite lead, with a tie-breaker advantage.
The Mice have a very good D-line with a couple of elite edge pass rushers, but their linebackers and secondary are not particularly wonderful. The best way to thwart pass rushers is to run at them, which is something the Niners have been doing quite well this year. If they succeed again Sunday, Mr. Manning will be standing on the sidelines for long stretches, watching his defense and hopefully getting stiff, antsy, and out of rhythm. Maybe he’ll throw a few weirdo passes that the Niners can intercept.
The Candlestick crowd gets a chance to demonstrate its decibels Sunday. They are a little out of practice, having not performed at an elite level for many years. They have never been as renowned as the crowds in places like Seattle, Detroit, and Kansas City, so this is a chance to make a major impact.
All in all, this game looks to be a close one, unless the 49ers blow the Mice off the field like they did Tampa Bay. Now THAT would get everybody’s attention — even the folks in Green Bay.