Why the Giants defense can be susceptible to runs on third downs

Yesterday I broke down a couple of 49ers offensive line matchups with the Giants defensive front.

I want to point out something. The matchups will not always be as simple as Joe Staley vs. Jason Pierre Paul and Anthony Davis vs. Justin Tuck.

If you noticed against the Browns last Sunday, the Giants tried a variety of defensive linemen over all of the Browns’ offensive linemen looking for a soft spot and a favorable matchup to exploit.

Sometimes the Giants line up right defensive end Pierre-Paul on the other side if they feel he has a matchup advantage.

On obvious passing downs (third down, two-minute drill), they will also sub in four defensive ends (Pierre-Paul, Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Adrian Tracy) and play two of them over the guards or one of their interior two offset on the center because they want to put their four best pass rushers in the game. A defensive end over a guard is a significant speed advantage.

That is one of the reasons the Giants have been so successful over the years rushing the passer.

That also is one of the reasons why the Giants are susceptible to runs on third downs when they’re in some of their nickel and dime packages.

Look for the 49ers to run on third downs more than usual on Sunday.

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