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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
November 2, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
ATL at MIA* DET at MIN* TEN at CLE* PIT at GB* PHI at WAS*
CAR at TB HOU at JAC* Sun 4 PM On Bye: Mon 9 PM
CIN at BAL SD at NYJ SEA at ARI* DAL, STL Updates*

Prediction: NY Giants 24, San Francisco 6

So maybe this is not the gross mismatch is seemed thanks to the Bucs who went to San Francisco and left with little more than some sourdough bread and a postcard of Alcatraz for the effort. Like many bottom feeder franchises (think Arizona), the 49ers at home can put together a surprising effort against visitors who really just want the quick and then get back home. The Giants are certainly flying high with a comeback win over the Broncos and then decimating the Redskins in the "Mara Tribute" game. They too are perfectly set up for another trap game to happen. Hopefully they ride the cable cars before the game because there's evidently a chance they may not be in the mood for sight-seeing after the game.

New York Giants (5-2)
1 42-19 ARI 10 Nov 13 MIN
2 27-10 @NOR 11 Nov 20 PHI
3 23-45 @SDC 12 Nov 27 @SEA
4 44-24 STL 13 Dec 4 DAL
5 Open Bye 14 Dec 11 @PHI
6 13-16 @DAL 15 Dec 17 KCC
7 24-23 DEN 16 Dec 24 @WAS
8 36-0 WAS 17 Dec 31 @OAK
9 Nov 6 @SFO . . SAT
NYG at SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning 0 0 270, 2
RB Tiki Barber 70 10 0
TE Jeremy Shockey 0 50,1 0
WR Amani Toomer 0 80 0
WR Plaxico Burress 0 100,1 0
WR Tim Carter 0 20 0
PK Jay Feeley 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The challenge this week is to prevent a massive letdown after completely demolishing the Redskins and handing Joe Gibbs his first shutout ever. The Giants defense has never looked better than last week and going against the 49ers it can still look awesome, unless they too fall victim to letting down after a huge home win.

Quarterback: Eli Manning had a lower output last week but that had mostly to do with Tiki Barber turning in a career best game. Manning has thrown for at least one score in every game this year and has 13 on the year. With DEN, DAL and WAS as the last three opponents, he hasn't had a big game since week four but going against the weakest secondary should see big numbers once again.

Running Backs: Tiki, Tiki, Tiki. Going against the normally great Redskins defense last week, Tiki Barber ran for 206 yards and one score for a career best game and top effort of the 2005 season for NFL running backs. Barber has scored in five of seven games this year and was so good last week that he even let Brandon Jacobs come in for mop up duty that netted yet another rushing score. No questions here - Tiki is the man.

Wide Receivers: Plaxico Burress comes off his worst game of the year but that's only because the Redskins secondary was good and their rush defense was horrible. Manning has finally started to use Burress and Amani Toomer in nearly equal proportions and last week is hardly a measuring stick. Burress remains the better option in the endzone but Toomer has taken a possession role and parlayed it into a couple of scores in the last few weeks.

Tight Ends: Like the wideouts, Jeremy Shockey comes off his worst game of the year with only 29 yards but he managed to catch the lone passing score. That gives him four touchdowns on the season and he remains on equal footing with Burress and Toomer in the passing scheme.

Match Against the Defense: There are several factors that will impact this game. The Giants are due for a let down after such a huge win last week and Tiki Barber may still be tired from running for over 200 yards. The 49ers have been better at home against the run but Barber has an obvious shot at another score this week and could turn in good yardage since the defense has to respect the pass thanks to Manning.

Manning goes against the weakest secondary in the NFL and could shred it since he has three viable passing options and a rushing game to support him. Expect the 49ers to play hard this week too thinking that the Buccaneers game was a major turn around and while they may do okay against the run, there is no way that they will keep the passing game down. Expect Manning to notch at least two scores here and possibly three if Barber does get limited. Those would favor any of the three receivers equally since this secondary is so weak.

San Francisco 49ers (2-5)
1 28-25 STL 10 Nov 13 @CHI
2 3-42 @PHI 11 Nov 20 SEA
3 31-34 DAL 12 Nov 27 @TEN
4 14-31 @ARI 13 Dec 4 ARI
5 3-28 IND 14 Dec 11 @SEA
6 Open Bye 15 Dec 18 @JAC
7 17-52 @WAS 16 Dec 24 @STL
8 15-10 TBB 17 Jan 1 HOU
9 Nov 6 NYG . . SAT
SFO vs NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Cody Pickett 20 0 60
RB Kevan Barlow 70 10 0
RB Frank Gore 20 10 0
TE Trent Smith 0 0 0
WR Brandon Lloyd 0 20 0
WR Johnnie Morton 0 10 0
LB Antonio Pierce 0 20 0
CB Will Allen 0 50,1 0
PK Joe Nedney 2 FG 0 XP -

Pregame Notes: So it only took five straight losses before the 49ers won a game. They just took down the NFC South division leader Buccaneers by kicking five field goals and never scoring a touchdown. The Bucs were using Chris Simms in his first start of the season and while he had 264 yards and a score, he had two interceptions. That proved fatal in a game that just smacked of trap from the opening kick off.

Quarterback: Okay, the 49ers won last week but for a bit of context, they only completed 8 of 19 passes for a total of 50 yards in the entire game. Whoa. Since Alex Smith and now Ken Dorsey are injured, likely Cody Pickett will be starting this week. Not bad for being #4 on the depth chart about three weeks ago. He only has to throw for 93 yards and he's already done more than Smith or Dorsey has done this year. And yet that may be just as challenging for him as it was for them.

Running Backs: Kevan Barlow comes off his first 100 yard game of the year, running for 101 on 26 carries against the Bucs who were genuinely surprised the 49ers were trying so hard. Even Frank Gore had ten carries for 40 yards but this offense only has three rushing scores on the season and they all pretty much came when the game was already over. Barlow and Gore continue their 2:1 ratio for sharing carries.

Wide Receivers: Brandon Lloyd led all wideouts (which was only Morton who had one catch) with a stunning display of receiving ability on both of his catches that racked up a solid 18 yards. I'm sorry. I cannot make this sound less than horrendous even with a thesaurus, some humor and the hope you have been drinking before reading this. Oh yeah - great move on letting Rattay leave the organization.

Tight Ends: Old men with bad breath and no dancing skills get more action than the tight ends for the 49ers.

Match Against the Defense: The 49ers will run in this game and not just because that is all they can do... okay, so it is all they can do. But the Giants rushing defense has not been stellar until last week and somehow Barlow and Gore managed to turn in moderate numbers every week with the odd touchdown. The score won't happen here but the moderate yardage will since the 49ers will still be rushing the ball even after the Giants team bus has left for the airport.

Cody Pickett takes his first start and since the 49ers prefer to control the loss by rushing, expect low numbers from the one-time #4 quarterback that won't quite match the 90 yard game record of either Dorsey or Smith.