The San Francisco 49ers are sitting at 7-1 and atop the NFC West, but now look to one of their toughest games this year: a showdown with the New York Giants at home. For more on the game and the team in general, head on over to Niners Nation, SB Nation's 49ers blog.
The San Francisco 49ers, by popular reckoning, have three "tough" games remaining on their schedule. They've got the Baltimore Ravens on Thanksgiving and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football in December, but this week they've got a big one as well: a showdown with the New York Giants at Candlestick Park. Sitting at 7-1 on the season and firmly atop the NFC West division, none of those three games will end up as being "must wins" for San Francisco to win their division, but if they're serious about being a playoff contender, each game will serve as a big, big measuring stick.
For the 49ers, they're coming off their sixth straight win and have the second-best record in the NFL, behind only the undefeated Packers. A 19-11 victory over the Redskins in their last outing was a lot more dominant than the final score might reflect, and they'll be coming home to Candlestick Park feeling very good about themselves. They dominated Washington on defense, giving their offense enough tries to slowly put points on the board, winning on the back of four David Akers field goals and a 30-yard touchdown completion to fullback Bruce Miller.
Sitting at 6-2 on the season, the Giants are up top in their division as well. They just had a thrilling win over the Patriots in their last outing, forcing Tom Brady to throw two interceptions and gutting it out at the very end of the game with an Eli Manning touchdown pass to Jake Ballard. The game-winning touchdown pass came with 1:21 to go in the game, and the defense would go on to hold.
Fortunately for the 49ers, the Giants really have struggled in many areas. Most of their games this year have been close, wins of just only a couple points, even against bad teams. They lost games to the Seahawks and the Redskins, while barely beating teams like the Dolphins and the Cardinals. While there's a strong team their on both sides of the ball, the dominating 49ers defense may be able to take control like they were able to do against the Redskins.
San Francisco will probably approach this game like most they have this year: use an offense that gets the job done more often than naught, and a defense that is absolutely punishing in every way. Frank Gore will be looking for his sixth consecutive game with 100 yards rushing to further his 49ers record and Alex Smith's number one priority will be, once again, to not turn the football over.