The New York Giants on the west to face the 49ers today, and they know exactly what the forecast is:
Gore, Gore and more Gore.
“This is old-school football, man,” Giants linebacker Michael Boley told the New York Post this week. “In our league, there’s not much of that anymore. In our league, it’s slowly evolving into a run-and-gun league. When you get a game where you know the outcome is going to be determined in the trenches, you’ve got to love it.”
The Giants know exactly who the 49ers are, a team built on the ground attack of running back Frank Gore – the first Niner to rush for 100 or more yards in five straight games – with a terrific, maturing defense.
The Giants have had trouble against run-oriented teams, allowing four backs to go over 100 yards against them and giving up an average of 127 rushing yards per game. They rank 25th overall in the league against the run.
“If they run the ball on us they’re going to beat us,” New York defensive end Dave Tollefson told the Post. “Everybody knows that.”
Tollefson, who grew up in the Bay Area, says this Niners team, which is 7-1 under first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh, is no finesse team.
“This ain’t Joe Montana’s 49ers,” he said. “These guys run the hell out of the ball and they’re physical and the guys up front are blocking really well.”
Gore, who injured his left ankle last week, says he’ll be ready to play Sunday, and he “feels good.”
On the other side of the ball, the Giants are worried about being able to run against San Francisco, the No. 1 rushing defense in the league, which is allowing just 71 yards per game. Running back Brandon Jacobs, a big, physical back, is good to go, but his running mate, Ahmad Bradshaw, will miss his second straight game with a foot injury.
Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride looks at the 49ers defensive unit and sees linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman setting the tone.
“(Willis) is a tremendous player,” Gilbride told the Star-Ledger of New Jersey this week. “It’s two very good linebackers that are running around making a lot of tackles. It’s such a different approach than some people that we’ve faced who are very complex. They’re just very, very well coached.”
How Giants quarterback Eli Manning performs may be the key to Sunday’s game. If the Giants shut down the run, the ball will be in Manning’s hands, and he’s been very good this year with four fourth-quarter comeback victories in leading the Giants to a 6-2 start.
Oddsmakers have made the Niners a three-point favorite in Sunday’s game at Candlestick Park.