Offensive & Defensive X-Factors for San Francisco
Head coach Kyle Shanahan might want to abandon the idea of having quarterback C.J. Beathard throw the ball 50-plus times this week.
This, because the Giants are allowing 125.9 yards per game on the ground.
Running back Carlos Hyde has yet to have a game this season in which he’s taken over the offense. Week 10 would be a nice opportunity, so he has to be included on our list of X-factors.
But what of the rest?
49ers Run Defense
One of the few weapons of surprise for the Giants this season has been running back Orleans Darkwa.
Darkwa is averaging 5.1 yards per carry, while San Francisco has given up more rushing yards than any other defense this season (1,221).
It’s pretty clear Darkwa will be a major part of New York’s plans.
The 49ers defense is vastly better with linebacker Reuben Foster in the fray, but a lot of the attention will have to focus up front and on the edge, as Darkwa is adept at picking up huge gains either way.
49ers Pass Rush
The Niners haven’t exactly wowed with sack totals this season, having just 17 on the year. But sack totals can be misleading, as often pressure is enough to force quarterbacks off their rhythm.
Such has been the case with Giants QB Eli Manning. While he’s only been sacked 19 times, his passer rating under pressure sits at a lowly 66.4 when facing pressure, per Pro Football Focus, which ranks 21st among all qualifiers.
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Safety Adrian Colbert
San Francisco will be without its two starting safeties for the rest of the season, Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt, due to injury. And while the Niners can slate converted linebacker Eric Reid back to safety duties, rookie Adrian Colbert will likely be pressed into service.
Colbert flashed some nice range from the free safety spot a week ago against Arizona. It might be smart to keep him atop the 49ers defense, although it wouldn’t be a shock to see Manning and the Giants offense test him.
How he responds will be paramount to San Francisco’s passing defense.