Week 10 of the NFL season comes to an unceremonious conclusion when the New York Giants visit the San Francisco 49ers. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15 EST on Monday, November 12, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The game can be seen nationally on ESPN.
Oddsmakers list the 49ers as 3-point favorites at home. That line has increased slightly after San Francisco opened the week favored by 2.5 points. The over/under is set at 43.5 points. Be sure to check out a full list of game previews and Week 10 betting odds.
For just the second time this season, the 49ers have a chance to win their second game in a row. San Francisco snapped a six-game losing streak last Thursday when they beat the Raiders 34-3. Rookie quarterback Nick Mullens stole the show in his first career start, throwing for 262 yards and three touchdowns. To be fair, it was only against the Raiders. But it was an impressive debut nonetheless and at least earned Mullens the start on Monday night.
Of course, nothing short of winning the rest of their games will save the 2-7 49ers at this point in the season. Actually, even finishing 9-7 probably won’t be enough to earn a playoff spot in the NFC this year. However, the 49ers have some winnable games on the horizon, so there’s still time for them to finish with a somewhat respectable record, much like they did last season when they won five in a row to finish the campaign.
Meanwhile, the Giants are hoping a trip to the west coast will help them break their current five-game losing streak. At 1-7, it looks like another lost season for Big Blue. However, no one has told that to Odell Beckham Jr., who said Friday that the team’s goal is to win their final eight games and reach the playoffs. But again, even if that fairy tale comes true, a 9-7 team probably isn’t going to make the playoffs in the NFC.
For what it’s worth, the Giants only play two of their final eight games against teams that currently have a winning record. Also, five of their seven losses have come by a touchdown or less. Even if they’ve struggled to win, the Giants have remained competitive most of the year.
Losing two games to the Cardinals this year makes me nervous to pick San Francisco as a favorite. But given how the Giants have played this season, I’m okay taking a shot on the 49ers. With only a field goal to cover at home, I’ll eat the points and lean toward San Francisco.
The million dollar question in this game is how Mullens will play in his second start. He was a revelation against the Raiders, to say the least. However, the jury is still out on him after he faced such a terrible defense. Mullens doesn’t exactly have the traditional tools we find in NFL quarterbacks. But he proved against the Raiders that he has a quick release and he can hit open receivers, so he’s got a chance to replicate some of the success he had last week.
Playing a big role in how Mullens plays will be the New York defense. After a rough patch earlier in the season, the Giants only allowed 23 and 20 points in their last two games against the Falcons and Redskins, respectively. That provides some semblance of hope that they can give a young quarterback a hard time. Of course, the Giants are also playing a little short-handed on defense after trading away Damon Harrison and Eli Apple a couple weeks ago.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Giants have struggled against the run this season, which could play into San Francisco’s hands. The 49ers have a top-5 rushing attack, gaining over 130 yards per game. Raheem Mostert was lost to IR after the win over Oakland. But the extra time off after the Thursday game should have Matt Breida near full health after struggling with some nagging injuries. Breida is gaining 5.5 yards per carry on the season and should help take some of the pressure off Mullens.
On the other side of the ball, the Giants are sticking with Eli Manning at quarterback. Of course, the Giants still have a dreadful offensive line in front of him that makes it difficult for Manning to accomplish anything. Manning has been sacked 31 times this season, routinely putting the Giants behind the chains.
One of New York’s best chances to score could be with Saquon Barkley breaking off a long run. However, the San Francisco defense has been stout against the run most of the season. The 49ers have allowed just three running plays of 20 yards or more, which means they should be able to prevent Barkley from hitting a home run.
All things considered, I think the 49ers have a better chance to win this game. San Francisco’s defense and running game are a little more reliable, even if we don’t know much about their quarterback. Admittedly, the Giants have played some close games, but only two of their seven losses have come by three points or less. I’ll take my chances with the 49ers being able to win and cover a field goal.