TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 6: New York Giants At San Francisco 49ers

Giants
49ers
Cleveland Browns v New York Giants
Buffalo Bills v San Francisco 49ers
Quarterback
Winner Eli Manning is as dependable a quarterback as there is in the NFL. He’s at his best when the Giants have a big game and this certainly qualifies as a big, early-season game. Manning is coming off a solid game against the Cleveland Browns in which he completed 25-of-37 passes for 259 yards with 3 TDs and 1 interception.
Alex Smith is at the top of the passer ratings through the first five weeks and he is putting together a second consecutive excellent season. Smith is athletic, reads defenses well and is throwing the ball with confidence. The upgrade at the wide receiver position has made him one of the best passers in the league.
Offense
Winner The Giants couldn’t run the ball last year when they finished 32nd in the league in regular-season rushing, but they have turned that around this year. Ahmad Bradshaw is coming off a 200-yard game against Cleveland while rookie David Wilson has explosive speed. Wide receiver Victor Cruz is very tough to cover in clutch situations and tight end Martellus Bennett is improving and rapidly becoming a Manning favorite.
Winner Frank Gore is not just a good back, he is a go-to difference maker. He pounded the weak Buffalo for 106 yards and a touchdown. The Niners have a much-improved crew of receivers. Mario Manningham, Michael Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis give Smith a slew of targets who can go downfield and dominate. Randy Moss is not working out well for the Niners at this point.
Defense
The Giants still have the best front four on paper in the NFL. However, that unit did not have one sack in the 41-27 victory over the Cleveland Browns. This would be the week for Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck to assert themselves once again. The secondary is vulnerable to downfield passes because the pass rush is not what it should be.
Winner The Niners are rolling on defense since their Week Three loss at Minnesota. Since then, they have shut out the Jets and held the Bills to three points. The Giants are a much more formidable team and have a running game this year, but linebackers Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith will punish anybody they can get their hands on.
Special Teams
Winner The Giants are not usually going to make a lot of big returns, but their coverage teams are excellent. The Niners remember that it was a special teams forced fumble that gave the Giants the chance to win the NFC championship game. Lawrence Tynes is a clutch placekicker while Steve Weatherford is a solid punter.
David Akers has awesome leg strength, but he may not be the most consistent field goal kicker at this point in his career. However, he made a career for himself in Philadelphia by hitting clutch kicks against the Giants. Andy Lee averaged 56.0 yards on two punts against the Bills.

The Winner Is

Cleveland Browns v New York Giants
Winner Giants
3 out of 4

While the Giants may have a key edge at quarterback and they can hold their own with a solid pass-rushing defense against the all-around strength of the Niners defense, San Francisco comes in with the motivational edge. The Giants eliminated them in the NFC championship game last year and they want to get some payback.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 20:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball during the second half of the game against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 20, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 27:  Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the New York Jets looks to throw a pass against the New England Patriots in the game at MetLife Stadium on November 27, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Justin Heiman/Getty Images)
    Week 13 Tale Of The Tape: Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets

    The Colts are still alive for the playoffs while the Jets are just playing out the string.

  2. OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 27:  Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers looks to pass against the Oakland Raiders during their NFL game on November 27, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 27:  Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks runs for several yards on the quarterback keeper during the second quarter of an NFL game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on November 27, 2016 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
    Week 13 Tale Of The Tape: Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks

    The Panthers travel to Seattle for a date with the Seahawks.

  3. TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 27:  Quarterback Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks for a receiver during the third quarter of an NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks on November 27, 2016 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 13:  Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers passes the ball during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Qualcomm Stadium on November 13, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
    Week 13 Tale Of The Tape: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Diego Chargers

    The Bucs are in second place in the NFC South and look to keep pace with the Falcons as they match-up with a tough Chargers team.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Pittsburgh

New Podcast Network
Learn How
Get The All New CBS Local App

Listen Live