San Francisco 49ers Stand Ground Against New York Giants
Written by Greg Smith – 2011-12 NFL Prediction Record (18-9-1)
NFL bettors can look forward to another great chance to put cash in their pockets this weekend as the New York Giants travel west to take on the San Francisco 49ers. Both these teams are flying high emotionally as the Giants recently knocked off the powerhouse Green Bay Packers and the 49ers put a solid beatdown to the New Orleans Saints. There are a number of key statistics that I’ve noticed from my research, as well as some key storylines that I want to point out for NFL bettors so they can be confident in their wagers this weekend.
As their recent victory over the Green Bay Packers (37-20 on the road) illustrates, the New York Giants are probably playing their best football of the year right now. Giants QB Eli Manning is playing well to lead his team to key victories and currently stands at 35 TD’s with 17 INT’s with a passing completion rate of 61.6% and an overall QBR of 95.7. In general the Giants offense currently ranks at 8th in total yards gained per game, 5th in passing yards gained per game, 32nd in rushing yards gained per game and 9th in points scored per game. On the defensive side of the ball the Giants are currently 27th in total yards allowed per game, 29th in passing yards allowed per game, 19th in rushing yards allowed per game and 25th in points allowed per game. One note of caution about these overall numbers is that they are rather misleading if we figure that the Giants are in fact playing their best football recently. To get an accurate picture of their most recent games, they have beaten quality opposition in the Green Bay Packers (37-20 on the road), Atlanta Falcons (24-2 at home), and Dallas Cowboys (31-14 at home). To add further detail to the Giants’ performances we can see that over their last three games they are gaining about 18 more points than they are surrendering. While these numbers are obviously very positive for the Giants I believe that they are susceptible to under-achieving on the road (although I realize this runs contrary to the Green Bay game). Looking at the Giants stats overall on the road for the year we can see that they are gaining only one more point on average than they are allowing. Looking at the Giants turnovers stats we notice that they are at an impressive +1.3 over their last three games but through the year stand at +0.5 as a road team. The Giants are at their healthiest for the season but still list WR Victor Cruz, LB Mark Herzlich, RB Da’Rel Scott and DT Chris Canty as questionable for this weekend matchup.
Opposite the Giants, the San Francisco 49ers are also probably playing some of their best football of the season-although they did not have the low that the Giants did. While QB Alex Smith has been criticized all season for not being an elite QB, he has still gained 20 TD’s with 5 INT’s with a passing completion rate of 60.9 % and an overall QBR of 91.8. To put QB Smith’s play in perspective we need to point out the calm and skill he displayed in bringing his team back to victory against the New Orleans Saints with only minutes to play. The 49ers were doing a great job throughout the game of beating the Saints largely with their defence and creating turnovers but all that went out the window as QB Drew Brees lead a great charge to overtake the 49ers. I think that Alex Smith made a real character statement as he marched his offense down the field and demonstrated that he is much more than just a game manager. Looking at the 49ers offense overall we notice that they currently rank 26th in total yards gained per game, 29th in passing yards gained per game, 8th in rushing yards gained per game and 11th in points scored per game. While I point out that QB Smith did a fantastic job in directing his team to victory last weekend, certainly the 49ers rely heavily on their powerful defence. Overall for the year they rank 4th in fewest total yards allowed per game, 16th in fewest passing yards allowed per game, 1st in fewest rushing yards allowed per game and 2nd in fewest points allowed per game. The last time these teams played the 49ers took the victory (27-20 at home). As we specifically saw against the Saints, the 49ers are doing a masterful job of creating turnovers and are +2.3 over their last 3 games and +2.6 for the year when they play at home. The 49ers are also quite healthy for this time of year but still list WR Ted Ginn, DT Ray McDonald and TE Delanie Walker as questionable for this Sunday’s matchup.
Simply stated, I feel that while Eli Manning is getting a lot of the publicity lately for his play Alex Smith should be considered at least roughly his equal (yes, I said it). As well the 49ers show better chances to win the turnover battle and have a better point differential overall when they play at home than the Giants generally do on the road.
Prediction: Take the San Francisco 49ers (-2.5) against the visiting New York Giants (Bookmaker.eu)
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