49ers have the edge in matchup of struggling teams


As crazy as it seems, the 49ers should win a game this Sunday.

Not because they’re good or improving. They seem to get a little worse each week.

It’s because they’re playing the New York Giants, almost as bad as the 49ers. The Giants have won only one game this year.

And they’re dysfunctional. They’re falling apart. They’ve gotten outscored by 51 points the past two games. The 49ers, bless their hearts, have gotten outscored by only 33 points the past two weeks.

Here’s why the 49ers should win.

Click here to ready my column.

This article has 95 Comments

  1. How ironic that by winning, the Niners will have a repeat of last year, when they lost the option of taking Myles Garrett at #1, and arguably got a player who won’t help the team all that much. And the underachieving Giants will get the pick they would have had, most likely.

    Don’t get me wrong: Solomon Thomas has at least a chance to have a career like Bryant Young’s, so he has the potential to be a very good player. But he will never be a Lawrence Taylor, a Charles Haley, or a Von Miller.

    Enjoy the easy but expensive win, fellow fans.

    1. 4 sacks, 7 tackles, 4 assists. He’s also suffered a sprained ankle and a concussion and has missed 5 of 8 games. The NFL is tough.

  2. “……Manning will give this game away, and the 49ers, if they’re prepared, will know how to take it….

    Hope yer right, ..Grant ..

    If this turns out to be true .. it should be engraved on a plaque !

    1. The Niners played hard dispite the record…. I believe the Giants come in thinking of an easy win but get punched in thier egos and walk away with a loss

  3. Totally agree with Saleh. I think he gets another year for sure. I do believe he is going to be a good one. He by far is my favorite Niner coach.

    For the Niners to win they have to block, tackle, hold penalties to a minimum, no turnovers, no dropped passes, the new guys know their assignments, CJ gets rid of the ball quicker. If all those thing happen then yes there is a chance for a victory.

    1. Undercenter

      I go along with you on Saleh…no nonsense, straight ahead , hard-nose coach…and teacher. Rather than continue the search for the nugget in the mud, I think that John Lynch and the scouting dept. follow Walsh’s lead and spend his time looking at the ‘successful’ programs who coach no penalties and the good fundamentals. Both Shannahan and Saleh would welcome just teaching football instead of having to start every series 5 or 10 yards deeper.

      We’re getting closer guys, it’s coming….

  4. 49ers have the edge in matchup of struggling teams
    Posted By Grant Cohn on November 11, 2017

    I give the edge to the NYG’s. To date, the Niners are 0-1 in ToilotBowl competition, losing to the Cleveland Browns, 24-10 in 2015.

    That game was also for a top draft pick. This game is no different. The pressure will prove insurmountable for Jed’s fledgling club, as it will be clubbed, 35-17, maintaining a firm grip on the 2018 top pick.

    1. The NYG’s will somehow pull out a defeat and Manning will raise to the occasion. The 49ers will make him look an all pro again. Funny how they do that. CJ will get creamed again, hold on to the ball too long and the OL will look like matadors. The way he’s getting hit he’ll get a concussion soon. Jimmy G looked like he had a sick face on the sidelines. Handful of dumb penalties, handful of dropped passes and the behind the back throws plus 2 picks will stop the offense and tire out the defense. NYG’s sucks but they’ll win like 24-17, and the 49ers will still be in the race with Cleveland. Draft OL Quenton “Pancake” Nelson in the mid first after they trade down.

    2. But we ‘lost’ the Reggie Bush Bowl by beating Houston in OT the last week of 2005. Ironically, Davis was a far better TE than Bush was RB.

      So it hasn’t always been bad.

  5. This is straight bs and the readers shouldn’t buy this vowl of crap Grant is trying to sell….The Niners have 20 plus players on IR, a rookie QB who really needed two years of sitting before being sent to the wolves, a horrible offensive line and little to no depth. Grant is looking for a new way to critize Shanahan. They should’ve beaten that bad Giants team and Shanahan couldn’t even do that…smh…Such a child…

    1. Balthazar & Antoine,

      I agree. The upcoming weeks will separate the pretenders from the contenders.

      That 49er loss to the worst team in the last 20 years was impressive, a 24-10 shellacking.

      It doesn’t get any worse than that does it?…..Although Balthazar may prove to be prophetic— Cleveland is positionig itself for a rematch.

      1. There should be a playoff game at the end of the season between the two worst team, to determine who gets the first pick. Can you imagine?

        1. Hate replying to my own posts, but I missed the edit window.

          They could call it the Dog Bowl. Or more accurately, the LItter Box.

  6. 49ers have been a no-tank team, pulling out late season wins vs Rams.
    – Game 16 in 2015. Fisher suggested post 2016 draft if the Rams won they wouldn’t have been high enough to trade for Goff.
    – Game 15 in 2016. Cost us #1 overall. Lynch said if Garrett fell to #2 he would have had an open bidding war. Best picks win.

    Even though there’s a new GM/HC, I don’t see the 49ers hard tanking. Perhaps soft tanking, like putting marginally injured players that could possibly return on IR. But nothing more than that.

    I’d be fine with a 49er win. The Browns will draft 1 again. I’m thinking 49ers draft 3 to 5-ish. Pick up an OT or Edge. Cornerstone positions.

  7. — hey- an opponent with just as many active WR stars as we have…
    — will Staley & Brown handle JPP & Olivier???
    — Olivier “questionable” for game- but active, Hey–it’s all hands on deck to save USS NYG….even if your hands have to push your stump cart along to nudge powder kegs over to the gun crew on the mid gun deck!
    — will Paulsen make up for Hyde’s pass protect prowess?
    — how much longer will Lynch be carried on this roster?? He’d be of real help this game…At this point, cut bait and promote another roster spot, enough already…
    — McAdoo and Manning “escape from NY” this week and deodorize locker room with a W
    — or does the legend of CJ start it’s rehab tmro???

  8. Brodie2Washington says:
    November 11, 2017 at 1:07 pm
    49ers have been a no-tank team, pulling out late season wins vs Rams.

    True. But the only reason to win those games was a late season locker room threat by Trent Baalke: “If we lose those game against these losers, I lose my job and you lose your references. ”

    Shanny/Lynch have 6 year contracts and won’t make that same mistake.

    Niner Fans, when we secure that #1, and the Browns will want a rematch, who would you choose ?

    1. * A perfect game for Shanny to install his all rookie squad to guage 49er needs in 2018. Another reason they’ll lose. Shanny smell’s this rookie moment, and he didn’t make the Garoppolo trade to lose his draft position and ability to lure more draft picks.

    2. I’m OK if you are right, but I get the feeling from Lynch and Shanahan they are sick of losing. When they introduced Garoppolo they said celebratory words, but their faces were worn and haggard.

      Drafting 3-5 is means they (likely) won’t garner huge trade back deals like the Browns/Titans got in 2016. But they will have great choices at cornerstone positions like OT and Edge.

      Not saying it can’t happen. A mid-late first round team could offer big picks to move up to 3. Lots of teams with older QBs. Steelers. Chargers, Vikings, Broncos. (maybe even the Colts). 3 could still have good trade back value.

      1. B2W: Like I said last week, Shanahan and Lynch don’t want to have their names said in the same sentence with Matt Millen (0-16 Lions in 2008). I think we’ll see Jimmy G. tomorrow if CJB struggles.

        1. As much as I want to see Jimmy G tomorrow, I would love to see CJB get a win tomorrow as well.
          If there’s ever a guy who deserved it,it’s him.

          1. “….If there’s ever a guy who deserved it,it’s him….”

            HERE HERE !!

            Damn …
            (it feels wierd… agreeing with Prime)

      2. When they introduced Garoppolo they said celebratory words, but their faces were worn and haggard.

        You made an interesting point, and it made me think. But on reflection, I wonder whether this is more due to the number of serious injuries players have suffered this season, and less so on the W-L record. For Lynch especially, since he was a player for so many years; that must be very tough on him. And neither of these guys may have considered for a minute that they’d be playing the second half of the season with so many starting positions being manned by guys who were cleaning grease traps in Coalinga just a couple of weeks before.

        Strategically, it still makes the most sense to secure draft picks at the top of each round. That first rounder could be parlayed into at least four or five more, including — possibly — another couple of first rounders. And if the very-much-alive rumor is true that the Niners will shop JG to a QB-hungry team during the offseason, they could secure several more top picks, giving them more ammunition than any team has had since Dallas ravished the Vikings almost 30 years ago in the Herschel Walker trade. Ironically, the subsequent Cowboys rise as a result of that trade coincided with the decline and fall of the Niners dynasty that Bill Walsh built.

        1. “more due to the number of serious injuries players have suffered this season” could be the case. Its hard to read minds. But the haggard faces, combined with frequent statements about how they hate losing make me think they intend to win Sunday.

          There’s still room for a “soft tank.” Say an injured player is scheduled to be out six games. Might was well put him on IR so he’s 100% for training camp. Try like hell to win games, but take care of veteran players for the long haul and give rookies valuable snaps.

          Ever see the 30 for 30 “Great Trade Robbery?”

  9. I have faith they won’t blow their chance to get the #1 pick tomorrow. And I’m taking the over on 3.5 injuries, but I’m taking the under on 9 penalties this time.

      1. Every Giant helmet will have a sticker in remembrance of her, MWNiner. I think that will unify them, and they’ll hand the 49ers an emotional defeat….

        1. Now I am all for a win, given that this season has had dismal returns. However, I don’t think either QB is capable of winning tomorrow. As I understand it, the Giants stink, but we stink a bit more. It will all come down to who wants it more. Eli is a veteran an responds well in these circumstances. The new 49ers, not so much. I have to agree with the Gillette swallower in this one.

  10. I honestly love the optimism on this site. I mean 0-9 is pretty bad. I have been a 9er fan since they drafted this skinny young kid outa Notre Dame in ’79. Turned out to be pretty serviceable. While I still read these articles, I cannot, in all honesty watch these overpaid players protest that they are being oppressed, and refused to show respect to our Flag, our Country, our Law Enforcement, And our Military. Even the bench warmers make 4 x what I do. Until the NFL & the NFLPA get their act together and start showing Respect, the ratings will continue to plummet.
    I hope that the 9ers do well. I don’t care about the draft position. Put up the good fight. Make this watchable. Put Garoppolo in in the second half, and lets see what the kid can do.
    Of course that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong. Let the Haters begin…

    1. I hope the Niners don’t make the mistake of subjecting Mr. Garoppolo to their Pop Warner offensive line this year (and I’m pretty sure the aforesaid Mr. Garoppolo would agree). The last thing he wants is a career-ending injury while he’s on the cusp of years of top-level income. Were I in the shoes of Jimmy the Gee, I’d be returning the ball to the G-Men at first opportunity and hope the game gets so out of reach that the Giants will play their third string defense during the second half (and it’s entirely possible their third string DL is still superior to the Niners “starting” OL).

    2. Kaep is silently, nonviolently protesting for social justice. Yet the hate against him is palpable, with the not too subtle blackballing.
      If you mean that you think that protesting signifies Kaep hates this country, I respectfully disagree. He loves this country and he sees the need to correct great injustices. Kaep is against police shooting unarmed civilians. He is against rogue cops who are acting like judge, jury and executioner. To stand as if nothing is wrong is condoning that behavior. He protests against a system that requires less training than hair stylists, and the thin blue line is letting rogue cops get away with murder, and they still get paid while under scrutiny. Racial profiling is a problem in America, and Kaep is highlighting the problem. You may not think it is a problem, but there are way too many incidents to call them infrequent.
      You claim the players are making so much money, but the players are incurring debilitating costs. Aaron Hernandez had CTE that a person 40 years older should expect, but he was only 27. Nick Buonicotti is a shell of his former self, and has a hard time just functioning, or remembering what he was doing.
      Meanwhile, the owners are reaping huge profits, yet do not think it is necessary to have a safety net for the medical attention many players experience after playing. Those medical costs are a big reason why so many players go bankrupt within 5 years of retiring.
      You disparage the players wanting to get paid for sacrificing their bodies, think they are greedy and do not deserve to be adequately compensated. This is a 15 billion dollar business, and they owners have a moral obligation to establish league wide health care, especially after the new CTE studies.
      Your hero, Montana, is fortunate to have made enough to retire comfortably, but even he cannot run 50 yards without feeling pain.
      The ratings are plummeting because of many factors. The Niners over priced tickets so the common fan cannot buy seats, so now they have an empty mausoleum in the 4th quarter. CTE will impact the game way more than protests, because many parents are forbidding their boys from playing football. The corrupt officiating is calling into question the integrity of the game. Fantasy football has re-energized interest, but with the attrition rate, many Fantasy football players have to scramble to find replacements, making the whole endeavor a crap shoot, and winners are usually the ones who are fortunate enough to retain healthy players. Television is no longer 3 main channels, so there is a diversity of options with the internet. The league itself has made the game into a glorified 2 hand touch game, and Goodell is disliked by everyone. The owners, coaches, players and fans. They still cannot determine what a catch is. TNF is an anathema, because the league piously declares they are concerned about CTE, then makes players play with only 3 days rest.
      I just wish to respectfully disagree. I was a fan during the Brodie years, but started going to games because my bro in law had no one else who wanted to go during those Joe Thomas years. We have a lot in common, and I fervently hope for a win to break this losing streak.
      I have been an eye witness to the Glory Years, but gave up my seats when they moved to Levi’s. I preferred to send my children to college, than pay the new seat licencing fees and the new ticket prices. Having witnessed history, those memories will sustain me through these tough times.
      Respect is a two way street. I hope you will respect the right to protest, especially if it is silent and non violent. No one is spitting on the flag or burning it. The flag symbolizes many things, and you do not have the right to claim it only for yourself. The flag is there for everyone, and forced standing is forced patriotism.
      Mark Twain once wrote- Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.
      When the government racially profiles and shoots unarmed civilians, it does not deserve respect. Kaep did show respect, because he knelt instead of sitting, because a Green Beret asked him to. Kaep does not hate America, he loves America, and he is standing on his principles to call for justice for people like Oscar Grant, who was face down lying on the ground in handcuffs, but then was shot in the back. Kaep is speaking for the oppressed, the poor, disenfranchised majority who do not have a voice.
      Kaep is also against a judicial system in which they let the rogue cop walk free, like the guy who executed Oscar Grant. Kaep is making a principled stand, and has endured tons of hate, the loss of his job, and death threats. The good thing is that he started a dialogue, so people cannot sweep injustices under the rug. The police are now all wearing body cameras, and they have training about de-escalation tactics with non violent outcomes.
      I assert I do not hate you, or your opinion, but just want to give a counter opinion so there is a more balanced discussion.

      1. THAT……….IS……….A……….RECORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        The longest winded humanoid I have ever come across!!!! Amazing what u can do on an acid trip!!!!!!!!!

        Career politicians have nothing on you, sebninny!

      2. I’m with Seb on this one. Get the military recruitment garbage out of the NFL. It’s a game, not a place to sucker washed up football players (kids) into “the rich mans war, but the poor mans fight” as my great grandpa who fought in WW1 and WW2 used to say.
        Propaganda. And Colin’s not protesting the military….that’s a FOX news narrative to divide.

        Thinking caps on please.

    3. Sure let’s stand up and salute our military, and lambast those who don’t, until the day comes that we feel we need to pick up our AR15’s with 30 round mags to shoot them. This hypocritical patriotic stuff is so stupid.

  11. Your narrative leaves out the fact that several players on the Giants came out in defense of their coach shortly after their reports. I am with Razor in that the 49ers will lose tomorrow. There have too many injuries for the 49ers, and I have a bad feeling that trend will continue. Put that together with a potentially galvanized Giants team, and I see the 49ers losing a 40 – 34 heartbreaker.

  12. I like the 49ers to win tomorrow. Only one caveat. The New York Media put an all out “bash/shame a thon” for four straight days so there is a chance they might show up and play football. On paper the Giants have better talent. That said the Niners seem to be rounding into a bit of form and it wouldn’t take more than a TD and field goal in the first Q to encourage New York to throw in the towel..

    1. Do you think the Niners will pull out their stupid black uniforms to whoop up all 2000 of their fans who actually make it to the game in Santa Clara?

        1. Hah. Well I don’t, but after seeing those grotesque puke green Seahags unies, the Black unies look much better to me! Whatever, if they can win in black I’ll like them more.
          : -)

          1. compared to SEA and LA “color rush” uni’s– I’d take the black with the “who’s number is that again?” low contrast scarlet ANY day of week, twice on Sunday…

    2. looks like the active WR corps on both teams are devoid of talent…could Goodwin be the best WR on field this Sunday? Has it come to this?

      let’s see Hyde make a “trade bait” showcase statement this game, just don’t use him in pass protect…

      Hyde, Celek, & Brieda will be CJ’s main targets this week…unless Goodwin stops-the-drops….

      with Magnuson’s play last week– any chance of him spelling Tomlinson, assuming Trent & Joe are ok to go– all game…

      40-34 this game? Just don’t see it– 13-6 seems more likely…unless Eli shreds us with his 3rd string WR corps…

  13. All the obvious critiques; avoid turnovers, penalties and unforced errors. Keep the QB alive. Out-work, out-hustle, out tough (mental resilience under adversity) them. Refuse to lose; learn to finish. Hasn’t worked yet, but it could.
    This miserable season I’ve noted self-defeating, rotating fails in the Offense. They take turns with fails.
    > The OL can’t get push and look like matadors in pass pro.
    > Both Hoyer and CJ under unrelenting pressure have lacked accuracy in general and accurate ball placement even when their passes are kinda close.
    > When either QB has delivered the ball properly, that’s when the drops come.
    That’s finding ways to phukitup.
    So, I’m not predicting a win tomorrow. They’re 0-fers until proven otherwise. They’re my 0-fers…….but, Dang! Hard to love these mutts. #Uglydawgpack.

    1. — the offense’s fails begin at the interior OL losing at point-of-contact, not getting push, not maintaining blocks, not disengaging from blocks in time for next level block assign, etc…

      — with the interior line fails, the run game is inconsistent at best, ineffective most of time– like the last ARI game,

      — so KS’ forced to short pass game, CJ would rather eat the ball than throw a pick (bless his heart), keeps it too long too often,

      — pass protect suffers as D no longer “honors” run game, no chance at play action, now pass protect from other positions is exposed for the sham (Hyde) it often is…

      — this is a “failure-cascade” — due to interior OL breakdowns at the points where they must impose their will on the blocking assign, they lose 60-70% of these contests, which ends up poisoning all of the run/pass basics that KS’ offense needs as a foundation to make the fancier stuff (OZ runs, motion timing patterns, etc.) have any chance of working.

      — I hear it won’t be raining at gametime…I just saved 15% switching to Geico…

      1. — “with the interior line fails, the run game is inconsistent at best, ineffective most of time– like the last ARI game,”

        — “so KS’ forced to short pass game”

        Good point. I would like to see more balance with rushing and passing, as would KS. But in addition to your point, we are constantly playing from behind.

        We could run 50 to 60% of the time, but we would lose those 1 on 1 battles more often than not. Of course, people would still rip KS (and Hyde) for the 3 and outs that would inevitably occur.

        1. — in the tech world it’s called a “feedback loop” — can’t run more often when you can’t get positive ydg on 60% or more of your short ydg run snaps…
          — Hyde/Breida have to break tackles behind the LOS, by then run lane is long gone…
          — so KS is left forcing CJ to “make something happen” with 5-10 yd. pass plays that work maybe 25% of the time…
          — so the result: “3 and outs” — the D is winded in 2nd half….even the most mediocre foe can eek out a win….

          1. and the only way to fix this “failure cascade” is to find a way to make the guards and center at least marginally effective in run game, some way, some how…Magnusson, Tomlinson, Fusco, Kilgore, — keep shuffling the deck? I don’t think platooning these guys is the answer, but some combination needs to be found– we’re not crawling out of this hole till some kind of consistent positive ydg can happen on run snaps…a short ydg pass game can’t do it on it’s own…
            hey coach Benton– can we get some help here? Can you find a way to get the oppo’s Dline handled for chrissakes!!

  14. Niners should not take the Giants lightly, They should not believe the press clippings about turmoil. They should expect the Giants have huge motivation to prove their detractors wrong.
    Niners can win if they play clean, no flags. I hope they let JG and CJB alternate drives. Maybe make it competitive, and if a QB can lead the Niners to a score, he can continue starting.
    Niners need to go bold, and not settle for field goals.
    I hope this game, the Niners consider time outs to be precious, and saved for legitimate challenges, and for the last 2 minutes of each half.
    I hope the coaches have adequately prepared JG, and they attack the edges.
    I hope the defense does stunts with Buckner so the pass rush can get to Eli. Some safety blitzes may be effective. Maybe Foster should be turned loose for some delayed blitzes up the middle. Hands in the air to tip passes may lead to turnovers.
    I sure hope they win, because this may be their best chance to avoid a winless season.

  15. “Saleh is the best coach on the 49ers’ staff right now. He’s better than Kyle Shanahan, who has struggled during his first season as a head coach and offensive coordinator.”

    Oh Lord…these types of comments from you is what makes me wonder why I even read your opinions. The reason for the struggles should be obvious to all…THERE IS NO TALENT ON OFFENSE! Bad O-line, bad receivers, bad TE’s…what exactly did you expect KS to do with this team? This is a massive rebuild, feel free to grade him during the 2019-2020 season.

    1. Matt ask yourself this question, who’s responsible for the lack of talent on offense? Before you answer Baakle make sure review who brought in the players.


      They had the most cap space of nearly any team and failed to upgrade the OL. Kyle brought in his own skill players. He’s a better coach than Saleh, but he’s living with the results of his own choices as de facto GM.

      Baalke’s picks aren’t adding much to the mix but without Hyde and Brown where would this offense be?

        1. Baalke was a cancer, and his management skills were on par with Atilla the Hun.
          Just like the Rams are doing so well now that Fisher is gone, the Niners are way better off with Lynch as GM. Too bad it has not resulted in wins, but the Niners were competitive in many games this season, so there is hope.
          Lynch may not have spent cap money for elite FAs, but he did sign a boatload of decent players. With Baalke, decent FAs avoided the Niners like the plague. Lynch is following his long term plan, and next season, they should be able to have another blockbuster draft, especially if they garner picks by moving back. It is telling to see how many players who were drafted, are still on the team and contributing. Baalke whiffed on an entire draft, and his ACL strategy was a complete fiasco.
          Next season, the Niners MUST sign a big name O line FA. Look at how Whitworth has transformed the Rams.

      1. KS, JL, and the other FO guys, Mayhew, Peters, etc., should be called out for being cheap on OL FA’s and poor OL drafting this year….

        — as suspicious of Grant’s theories many here are, looks to me this season is a write off due to the OL talent acquired this year (Fusco, Tomlinson, Zuttah, etc) “not working out”
        — did the FO decide to ignore better G and C FA’s and higher draft picks devoted to same,, knowing the team would end up tanking due to OL problems? Tanking to ensure more ’18 draft stock?

        — Considering how bad the O is, it looks like one or more of these:
        1) “once in a decade level bad luck” with FA’s brought in, injuries, etc.
        2) incompetence regarding OL FA’s &, OL coaching,
        3) “draft position” plan to tank 2017

        1. Exactly!

          If it’s one, then it doesn’t matter as its not likely to be repeated.

          If it’s two or three it’s far more problematic but for other reasons. If it’s two it means our new people are either going through a steep learning curve or they are ill fitted for the job.

          If it’s three then it means that they are cunning but willing to sacrifice players cynically for another end. All the while lying about true intentions. Is that someone you want running a decent organization you can be proud of?

        2. No, they passed on many O linemen, because they spent their first 3 picks trying to fix the defense, which was in critical need of improvement.
          Instead of trading up for Joe Williams who was off many draft boards with a big red flag, they could have drafted Nico Siragusa, David Sharpe, Julien Davenport, Sean Harlow or Zach Banner in the 4th round. They could have drafted Joe Williams later.

          1. the offense isn’t just “not helping”, the O has become the Achilles heel of team the D’s albatross, as long as we’re tossing metaphors about…
            reminds me of the ol’ HOU Oilers Buddy Ryan/McBride bout…

              1. I’ll bet Saleh can relate to Buddy’s sentiment often….
                man– Shurmer’s got Keenum looking like pro bowl material today…
                a good run game certainly helps!

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