(KPIX) — The San Francisco 49ers came out of New York with a 31-13 win against the Jets last Sunday. After three first-half touchdown drives, they led 21-3 and never looked back. But the win against one of the NFL’s worst teams exacted a big cost. The already banged-up 49ers suffered multiple key injuries that will surely have larger ramifications for the season.
Defensive end Nick Bosa, last year’s NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and tackle Solomon Thomas left the game in the first quarter with knee injuries. (It has since been confirmed that both suffered torn ACLs that will end their seasons.) Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a high ankle sprain that kept him out after halftime. Running back Raheem Mostert sprained his MCL; RB Tevin Coleman sprained his knee. So many injuries, specifically leg injuries, led Kyle Shanahan to question the safety of the new artificial turf at MetLife Stadium.
The 49ers return to New York this Sunday, this time to face the Giants on the same field. The Giants have their own injury concerns. Saquon Barkley tore his ACL in Week 2’s 17-13 loss to the Chicago Bears. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard went on injured reserve with a toe injury suffered in that same game.
“The Giants and the 49ers aren’t going to be the teams they thought they were going to be,” says KPIX sports director Dennis O’Donnell. “Because you can’t replace Saquon Barkley. You can’t replace Nick Bosa. But what I found interesting in the 49ers’ win over the Jets [is] they have a lot of depth. They were prepared for injuries [but] not this many injuries. So when the 49ers take the field on Sunday, this is a possible scenario… no (Jimmy) Garoppolo, no Raheem Mostert, no Tevin Coleman, no Nick Bosa, no Solomon Thomas, no Richard Sherman, possibly no George Kittle. If you take all of those guys out of the lineup, I have to go with the New York Giants.”
Former Atlanta Falcon Devonta Freeman has since signed with the winless Giants on Wednesday. He will split time with Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman and could see action against the 49ers. Freeman has seen his production decline in recent years, so how much of an impact he’ll have is unclear. Daniel Jones may have to pick up the slack.
“The Giants couldn’t run the football anyway,” says O’Donnell. “All eyes are going to be on the young quarterback Daniel Jones. If he can pass the ball, despite the Giants’ porous offensive line, they can beat the 49ers, because the 49ers are decimated.”
Jones has faced two tough defensive matchups to open the season with similar results. Against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1, he went 26-41 for 279 yards and two touchdowns. Against the Bears in Week 2, he completed 25-40 for 241 yards. A healthy San Francisco defense would present another challenge to Jones, who will be without two important weapons. Can he take advantage of the weakened version?
The 49ers play the Giants Sunday, September 27 @ 10:00 a.m. PT.