Giants vs. 49ers: Keys to the game

Brian Bahr - Getty Images

What are some of the keys to the Giants-49ers game on Sunday? We take a look.

The New York Giants face the San Francisco 49ers Sunday at Candlestick Park in a rematch of last season's NFC Championship Game. This promises to be an emotional. Here are what we see as some of the keys to the game, from the Giants' perspective.

Which pass rush has the biggest impact?

The Giants' pass rush, which has generated only eight sacks in five games, has been missing in action. Well, despite the otherwise dominant work by the San Fran defense, the 49ers' pass rush hasn't really been any better. San Francisco has only nine sacks in five games.

At Niners Nation, David Fucillo addressed this topic in detail. Suffice it to say that both teams expect their front sevens to generate much more pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The team that is most successful in doing that will have a leg up on a victory Sunday.

San Francisco defensive end Justin Smith does not have a sack yet this season, but Giants' fans know how good of a player he is. He will line up opposite Giants' left tackleWill Beatty. When Beatty isn't blocking Justin Smith, he will likely be locked up with outside linebacker Aldon Smith, who leads the 49ers with 4.5 sacks.

Outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks has 3.5 sacks, and containing him will largely fall to right tackle Sean Locklear.

Can the Giants contain San Francisco's running game?

The Giants were gashed on the ground the last two weeks by LeSean McCoy of thePhiladelphia Eagles and Trent Richardson of the Cleveland Browns. The 49ers have the league's No. 1 ranked rushing attack (196.2 yards per game), and backs Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter (sorry, Brandon Jacobs!) have to be frothing at the mouth over what they have seen on film. Giants' defensive coordinator Perry Fewell admitted that both the backside containment and the tackling have been awful. If that doesn't improve drastically on Sunday the Giants won't stand a chance.

How will the Giants handle Vernon Davis?

The San Francisco tight end has six catches, three for touchdowns, against the Giants a season ago. The Giants will rely on the speed of Jacquain Williams, Michael Boley andKeith Rivers to try and contain him.

Can the Giants run the ball?

The Giants have rediscovered their ability to run the ball, having gotten a 200-yard game from Ahmad Bradshaw last week and a 113-yard effort from Andre Brown against the Carolina Panthers. The Giants are now 12th in the league, averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Can they keep that up against the outstanding San Francisco defense?

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