The 2017 can’t get much worse for the New York Giants.
Big Blue already bottomed out on the field with a putrid 51-17 loss at MetLife Stadium on Sunday to the visiting Los Angeles Rams. Since then, reports have circulated about the team quitting on second-year coach Ben McAdoo.
If the Giants (1-7) are to steadily put these low points behind them, Sunday is a good time for it as they visit the winless San Francisco 49ers. The Niners (0-9) are one of only two teams with a worse record than the G-Men. So they’ve got that going for them, which is nice.
Here’s a look at the matchup, which is as evenly matched as any remaining on either team’s schedule.
Darkwa times ahead
The Giants’ best running back might have been right under their noses for years.
Orleans Darkwa, in his third full season with the Giants, is averaging 5.1 yards per carry this season. Although his sample size remains small, Sunday could be a showcase for the 25-year-old.
The Niners are dead last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game. They rank next-to-last in rushing touchdowns surrendered, which could lead to Darkwa’s second score of the season.
Among the worst offenses the Giants committed against L.A. was getting beat for big gains. Four different Rams caught passes for at least 44 yards, two of which went for TDs. A performance like that would have any defensive coordinator fuming, especially one in charge of a unit that’s a stocked with high-priced talent as Big Blue.
The Giants should be concerned about Niners’ home-run threat Marquise Goodwin. The former Olympian is tied for second in the NFL with four receptions of at least 40 yards.
Giants safeties Landon Collins and Darian Thompson cannot let the 49ers’ speedster get behind them the way the Rams did.
The Niners are sticking with young C.J. Beathard, who replaced Week 1 quarterback Brian Hoyer, to start Sunday. Hoyer is gone now, so backing up the rookie is Jimmy Garoppolo.
Garoppolo came over in an Oct. 31 trade with the New England Patriots after backing up Tom Brady since 2014. He’s been studying the offense in preparation to take the reins.
If Beathard struggles, don’t be surprised if a switch is made. If that happens, the Giants should be wary of a passer who went 2-0 with four TD tosses and no picks as the Pats’ starter last season while Brady was suspended.