The 49ers play the Giants at Candlestick on Sunday. In the meantime, I’ll break down a couple of key matchups per day.
The 49ers running attack vs. the Giants run defense
This is a lopsided match up. The 49ers average 6.1 yards per rush – that’s No.1 in the league by almost a full yard per carry. The Giants defense allows 4.5 yards per carry – 25th best in the NFL.
The 49ers have two running backs playing at a Pro Bowl level – Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter. Brandon Jacobs, the ex-Giant, very well may return from an injured knee. So that’s three running backs the Giants have to account for.
Then there’s Colin Kaepernick, who runs the Read Option and the Wild Cat a few times a game and averages 10.6 yards per rush.
And then there are the wide receivers who run the fly sweeps and end arounds – Mario Manningham, Kyle Williams and Ted Ginn Jr.
Greg Roman has called 82 rushes the past two games. As long as he remains persistent and creative with the running attack, the Giants defense will not be able to stop the 49ers offense.
The persistence is very important. After all, the 49ers averaged 5.4 yards per carry on 28 carries in their NFC Championship loss to the Giants in January. You could make the argument that Roman should have called more running plays. Maybe that would have given the 49ers a better chance to win.
I don’t expect Roman to shy away from the running game on Sunday. He’s on fire calling run plays. I expect Gore and Hunter each to touch the ball about 15 times against the Giants.