Monday Night Football Predictions: New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers
I don't know what the worst-ever Monday Night Football matchup at least 10 weeks into a season has been, but I'm quite sure this Monday's Giants at 49ers matchup of teams with a combined 3-14 record is on the very short list.
Not going to sit here and pretend I have a ton of interest in this one … but that doesn't mean it's not interesting in its own way. It could be crucial for landing the No. 1 spot in the 2019 NFL Draft. Entering Week 10, the Giants do hold the No. 1 pick with Oakland at No. 2 and San Francisco at No. 3. The Niners already lost a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Raiders courtesy of the 49ers' Week 9 victory. More on that shortly.
If you are wondering, the Giants don't play the Raiders. New York probably won't be favored the rest of the season, although I could see it winning at home next Sunday vs. Tampa Bay. Maybe Week 17 vs. the Cowboys if Dallas has mailed it in under lame-duck Coach Jason Garrett. The 49ers have done well for themselves by losing twice to the Cardinals, another team in the hunt for the top pick. I don't really see the Niners being favored the rest of the way, either, but could see them winning Week 14 at home vs. Denver.
New York probably needs the top pick "more" because it needs a franchise quarterback. Alas, there may not be one in the Class of 2019 if Justin Herbert returns to Oregon. I wouldn't say the Niners "need" the top pick because they have their franchise QB in place in the injured Jimmy Garoppolo. They really need skill position talent around him. There's just no way you take a receiver or running back at No. 1 these days. So should San Francisco earn the top pick, it could trade down for multiple picks and then get Jimmy G some help.
Giants at 49ers Betting Story Lines
Will this be the last game Eli Manning starts in a Giants uniform? It's now obvious he will not be in the team's plans next year, two Super Bowl rings or not. Pat Shurmur says Eli will start here, but I'm guessing he has a very short leash. I wonder if rookie backup Kyle Lauletta might have started coming out of the bye week, but he was arrested for allegedly almost hitting a policeman with his car in some sort of traffic thing. Lauletta wasn't suspended. Not a wise move, dude, when the team is about to hand you a chance to earn the full-time job in 2019.
New York is averaging just 18.8 points per game, which is criminal when you have Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard. Barkley is still the leader for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, largely because the four first-round QBs have either struggled or been injured. He's third in the league in yards from scrimmage and tied for eighth in receptions - among all players, not just running backs. That's the New York offense: Barkley run 2 yards, Barkley run 1 yard, short dumpoff to Barkley for 5, punt. Not his fault the offensive line sucks.
The Niners actually played in the true 2018 Toilet Bowl on Thursday in Week 9 and the world was introduced to former Southern Miss QB Nick Mullens, an undrafted free agent. Mullens only started because No. 2 C.J. Beathard was a late scratch, and Mullens was historically good in the 34-3 rout of Oakland that ended the Niners' six-game skid. He finished 16 of 22 for 262 yards, three scores and no turnovers. His rating of 151.9 was the best in the modern era for a QB in his NFL debut with at least 20 attempts. Mullens joined Fran Tarkenton (1961) and Jim Kelly (1986) as the only QBs making their NFL debut to throw for more than 250 yards with at least three TDs and no interceptions since 1950.
It earned Mullens a call from the most famous Southern Miss alum: Brett Favre. Obviously, Kyle Shanahan had to start Mullens again, regardless of Beathard's status. Mullens faces a Giants defense that has been decent against the pass, allowing 244 yards per game, only 11 total TDs and a rating 93.3. Hey, maybe the Niners found something here and they can trade Mullens to a QB-needy team in the offseason. The Niners have lost running back Raheem Mostert and cornerback Emmanuel Moseley to IR since the Oakland game.
Giants at 49ers Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , San Francisco is a 3-point favorite with a total of 44. On the moneyline, the Niners are -155 and Giants +135. On the alternate lines, San Francisco is -2.5 (-130) and -2 (-135). The Giants are 3-5 against the spread (3-1 on road) and 3-5 "over/under" (2-2 on road). The 49ers are 3-6 ATS (1-3 at home) and 4-5 O/U (2-2 at home).
New York is 4-10 ATS in its past 14 vs. the NFC and 1-4 in its previous five after a bye. The Niners are 26-6 ATS in their past 32 on MNF. They are 5-14 ATS in their past 19 at home. The under is 6-2 in New York's previous eight vs. teams with a losing record. The under is 4-1 in the Niners' past five after scoring at least 30 points in their previous game.
Giants at 49ers Betting Prediction
These teams also played Week 10 last year at Levi's Stadium, and San Francisco won 31-21. Beathard threw for 288 yards and two scores while rushing for another. Manning was pretty good in throwing for 273 and two scores. The Niners had just acquired Jimmy G but didn't want to throw him to the wolves yet.
I'm not sure what to think here. I doubt that Mullens is Joe Montana, and the Giants have more overall talent. Plus, film on Mullens to study. Then again, San Francisco has better coaching and is playing hard. Take Niners -2.5 and go under the total.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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