What to Expect from Giants vs. 49ers: Oppositional Research 💪

The last time the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants met was exactly three years ago in Week 3 of the 2020 season. As you can imagine, a lot has changed since then, so let’s take a look at some of the storylines and matchups to look out for on “Thursday Night Football” in this week’s oppositional research.

Opponent Breakdown:

The Giants are the first of nine playoff teams the 49ers will face during the 2023 regular season. In 2022, New York clinched the sixth seed in the NFC after going 9-8 on the year. After defeating the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Wild Card Game, the Giants advanced to Divisional Round, however, their postseason run ended there with a 38-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Giants first two weeks of the 2023 season have already been filled with its share of high highs and low lows. Their year began with a 40-0 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on “Sunday Night Football.” Then in Week 2, the Giants completed the biggest comeback in the Super Bowl era, working their way back from a 20-0 deficit at the half to win the ball game 31-28.

Notable Injuries Overview:

  • The Giants have ruled out running back Saquon Barkley who suffered an ankle injury against the Cardinals, per NFL Insider Ian Rapoport.
  • Wideout Brandon Aiyuk‘s status is “very fluid” per general manager John Lynch on KNBR’s “Murph and Mac Podcast” Wednesday morning. The fourth-year pro is dealing with chest and shoulder irritation and will be a game-time decision.
  • Lynch also said the team is “working through” cornerback Ambry Thomas‘ availability as well. Thomas sustained a knee injury in the first half of the 49ers Week 2 matchup with the Rams.

John Lynch tells Murph & Mac that Brandon Aiyuk's avaliability for Thursday night is "very fluid":

"He's working really hard to try and get ready. With these Thursday night games you take it all the way down [to kickoff]."

— KNBR (@KNBR) September 20, 2023

Three Storylines to Watch in Week 3:

  • Brock Purdy and the 49ers offense vs. the Giants defense: San Francisco has not lost a regular season game with Purdy under center for a majority of the snaps (9-0), and the team is riding a 12-game regular season win streak headed into Week 3. The 49ers offensive unit has scored 30-or-more points in back-to-back games and is looking to take advantage of a Giants unit that has surrendered the most points across the league over Weeks 1 and 2. In addition, New York is the only team to not register a sack or takeaway up to this point in the season.
  • Jones and the Giants without Barkley: It’s unlikely the Giants will not have their best ground performer available for Thursday night’s game. Jones will be looking to the rest of the running back corps – Matt Breida, Gary Brightwell, Eric Gray and Taiwan Jones – to fill in the gap while he’s gone.
  • The threat of Jones to the 49ers defense: Jones is a dual-threat quarterback and has also shown his ability as a deep passer. His start to 2023 has been slow, however, he did showcase the offensive efficiency he is capable of in the second half of Sunday’s game versus the Cardinals, leading the Giants on five-straight scoring drives and the largest comeback in the Super Bowl era.

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