By Danielle McCartan (@CoachMcCartan and www.Facebook.com/CoachMcCartan)

BERGEN COUNTY, N.J.- This certainly was not the matchup the National Football League had in mind when scheduling the New York Giants at the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football in week 10 of the 2018 season. Instead, the Giants, at 1-7, are coming off a bye week that most players utilized to do some soul-searching. For how much longer will future Hall of Fame Eli Manning be at the helm?  The 49ers, at 2-7, will be quarterbacked by the third-string Nick Mullens, not the Bay Area Savior Jimmy Garoppolo (ACL, out since week 3).  The Giants and the 49ers enter play having the second and third worst records in the NFL, in that order.

The Giants are putting out the narrative that they are well-rested and refocused after their week nine bye.  They’ve also decided that they will live-and-die by Eli Manning. Shurmur told reporters: “Part of [my] conversation [with Manning] was, ‘We trust you, we want to work with you, and we trust the fact that you’re going to get in there and help us win football games.”  Well, this might be a tough task for Manning. The Giants are trying their ninth new defensive lineman in as many games and there is an imminent chance that the 49ers’ defensive front might end the Giants offense’s day before it even begins. 

There is a sense of optimism regarding the fourth-year guard that the Giants claimed off waivers earlier in the week. Despite being suspended for two games earlier in the season (performance-enhancing drugs), Jamon Brown, at 6-4 and 340 pounds, was claimed from the Rams.  Yes, the 2017 NFC West Champion and 2018 undefeated (when he was with them) Rams. Brown even comes with postseason experience. He seems to have an infectious energy about him and is expected to play Monday night, so his performance will be the focus of a lot of fans.

There is always, in the back of the minds of everyone, a chance that another quarterback may step in in the event that the game gets out of hand by halftime for Eli Manning. It likely won’t be Kyle Lauletta, the rookie that was arrested in Weehawkin earlier last week due to multiple traffic violations. He has been subject to “team punishment”, but is unclear what that punishment is/was, exactly. If it’s not Eli, Alex Tanney will likely get the nod.  In 2015, in his only NFL game, he went 10 for 14 for 99 yards and a touchdown. Would the Giants head coach consider playing Tanney this season? “Absolutely,” Shurmur said. “It goes without saying. We’ve had him as number two throughout. We just don’t stack them up willy-nilly.”

As for the 49ers’ hopes on Monday Night Football? They rest on the shoulder pads of and between the earholes of the gold helmet of Nick Mullens.  You may have heard of him.  He made his debut against the Oakland Raiders on the national stage (Thursday Night Football) last week. “He went on to become the third player in NFL history since 1950 to throw for at least 250 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in his debut, joining Hall of Famers Fran Tarkenton and Jim Kelly.” Mullens posted a stat-line of: 16 of 22 for 262 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. He posted the second best passer rating ever for a quarterback in his debut: 151.9 (second only to Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota). The Raiders and the Giants are quite comparable: bad news for the Giants.

Mullens actually spent last season as a practice squad safety for the 49ers (he’s a definite team-player).  49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said: “It will be a big challenge this week versus the Giants, they do a hell of a job defensively with their scheme and with their players. It will be nice for him to get a full week of practice. This will be his first full speed practice that he’s had with us as a starter, so I know that there’s some benefit for him also. But…the more you play in the league, it gets tougher.”

The only way the Giants could possibly stop Mullens is to dial up the pressure packages and hope the backend holds up.  The Raiders, last week, were unable to sack Mullens- they were barely even able to hit him! Oakland only hit him twice.  Again, the Raiders and the Giants are quite comparable: Defensively, the Giants have only 10 sacks, the second-fewest in the league.

Final Score: 49ers 17, Giants 10

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