NFL: 49ers-Giants preview

The Examiner breaks down the 49ers-Giants game, including what it will take to win, the matchups, a word about the coaches, our humble predictions and broadcast information.

THREE KEYS TO A VICTORY

1. The 49ers return from their bye week fresh, healthy and determined to snap their three-game losing streak. But even with Vernon Davis back from injury, the question remains whether the Niners can generate any sort of effective offense. That’s why the heavy load must once again go to running back Frank Gore. Gore is averaging just 61.2 yards a game and needs to return to his 2006 form immediately.

2. The Niners will continue to have Darrell Jackson and Arnaz Battle as their starting receivers. But they also plan to give more reps to Ashley Lelie, who is their best threat downfield. If the Niners can get a passing game going, the better off the offense will be.

3. The Niners’ pass defense has held its own this year and is in the middle of the pack (16th in the league). But they need to try to contain Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who is coming off a 303-yard, two touchdown game against the Falcons.

KEY MATCHUPS

Michael Lewis vs. Plaxico Burress

Lewis: Former Eagle is familiar with Giants’ scheme on offense. Coming off 10-tackle game vs. Ravens

Burress: Receiver has caught fire with Eli Manning. Has scored in each game, including three TDs in Week 1.

Joe Staley vs. Michael Strahan

Staley: Rookie right tackle will have his hands full against tough “D.” Must manage to fill all gaps.

Strahan: Veteran defensive end anchors a suddenly menacing New York pass rush.

Derek Smith vs. Brandon Jacobs

Smith: Veteran linebacker can still bring the heat. Is third on team in tackles (39) but no sacks.

Jacobs: Giants have evolved to a power running game. RB is healthy again and will rack up some big yards.

COACHES' CORNER

It’s not very comforting if the Niners’ Mike Nolan can’t even explain why his offense has been sputtering. We’ll tell you this much: They don’t have much time to brainstorm — especially since they had a whole week off.

The one advantage the well-rested Niners have is that Tom Coughlin’s Giants are coming off a short week (having played on Monday). It may not matter though since they’re riding a four-game winning streak.

THE EXAMINER PREDICTS …

We’ll give the Niners the benefit of the doubt that they will start out the game moving the ball well. But eventually, the wheels will fall off and the Giants’ pass rush will be too much for Trent Dilfer to overcome. The G-Men will win their fifth straight. Giants 24, 49ers 13

49ers at Giants

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: KTVU (Ch. 2)

Radio: KNBR (680 AM)

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