49ers Defensive Front Seven
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has elevated the 49ers defense to an elite status in the NFL. The defense is ranked ninth overall in the NFL and ranked number one against the run. The defensive front seven led by Patrick Willis and Justin Smith pressures the quarterback on every down and erases the running game by allowing only 70 rushing yards per game. Eagles RB LeSean McCoy is a good example of the 49ers defensive front seven shutting down an elite back. McCoy rushed nine times for 18 yards in the loss to the 49ers in week four. The 49ers will have no problem stopping Giants running backs Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs thus eliminating half of their offense.
One big difference with Jim Harbaugh as head coach is his emphasis on protecting the football. The 49ers are ranked second in the NFL in turnover differential with a plus-12 differential. On defense the 49ers have ten interceptions and nine fumble recoveries. The offense has thrown two interceptions and lost five fumbles. Only once this season the 49ers lost the turnover differential which was in week six in the win against the Lions. The 49ers will win the turnover battle against the Giants on Sunday which will contribute significantly to the win.
Special Teams in the Red Zone
The 49ers failed to score a touchdown multiply times in the red zone against the Redskins last Sunday. The offense is receiving some scrutiny, rightfully so, for not converting the four field goals into touchdowns. In the end the offense did enough to put the 49ers in position to put points on the board even if it was three points instead of seven. But the 49ers converting field goals in the red zone may not be such a bad thing. The 49ers are ranked 25th in red-zone opportunities only scoring a touchdown 13 out of 29 trips. In the last two wins kicker David Akers has scored 21 of the 49ers 39 points scored. When you count field goals made into the red-zone opportunities the 49ers are fourth best in the NFL having scored on 27 of 29 inside the 20-yardline. Sure, we would like to see the offense score a touchdown, they will get at least one on Sunday, but if points are getting on the board and the defense is doing its job the 49ers will pull out the win.