Game Preview: 5 Things to Watch When the 49ers Visit the Giants

The San Francisco 49ers will look to end their current three-game losing streak in Week 5 against the New York Giants on "Sunday Night Football." The game from MetLife Stadium will mark the 49ers third road trip in four weeks.

New York enters the contest as winners of their last two games after dropping their first two. In every game this season, the Giants have had a lead in the fourth quarter.

San Francisco topped New York, 16-10, when the two teams met in 2014 behind three field goals from Phil Dawson. The Giants, however, have won five of the last seven matchups.

The 49ers are currently 1-0 in primetime games this season, having beaten the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1 on "Monday Night Football," and will look to make it two in a row on Sunday.

Here are five things to watch on SNF.

  1. The inactives report

We already know Vernon Davis is out with a knee injury. The big name to keep an eye on is Joe Staley. The 49ers left tackle was held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday with a knee injury and practiced Friday on a limited basis. It's unknown what the 49ers contingency plan would be if Staley were unable to go. Left guard Alex Boone could slide over and play left tackle. Rookie tackle Trent Brown could also get the start. 

Jim Tomsula indicated that sitting Staley in practice was precautionary, and the 49ers hope they won't have to worry about contingency plans. Should Staley miss the game, it would be his first missed start since 2010.

The other name to watch is Quinton Patton. The wide receiver suffered a concussion late in the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers. As of Tomsula's press conference on Friday, Patton hadn't cleared the league's concussion protocol. The head coach did sound optimistic that Patton would be available on Sunday, and he was listed as a limited participant in practice on Friday.

  1. Containing Odell

Odell Beckham Jr., set an NFL record for receiving yards in his first 16 games and has reached NFL superstar status in just his second year.

Beckham has 41 targets this season, almost double of the next closest Giants pass-catcher, Larry Donnell, who has 23 targets. Eli Manning will try to get Beckham involved early and often. It will be the job of the 49ers defense to keep the receiver from taking over the game himself.

Last season against the 49ers, Beckham caught six passes for 93 yards. All things considered, the 49ers would take those same numbers again on Sunday given how prominently Beckham will be featured in the Giants offense.

  1. Who starts for Brooks?

Ahmad Brooks is listed as doubtful following the death of a family member. Corey Lemonier is the odds on favorite to replace the outside linebacker in the starting lineup, but we could see plenty of Eli Harold as well.

The pass rush was impressive against the Packers last week. The group sacked Aaron Rodgers three times in the game after the Green Bay quarterback had only been sacked three times in the previous three games combined. Most eyes will be on Aaron Lynch, but it would be huge if the 49ers could get production from whoever starts opposite him as well.

There wouldn't be a better time for Harold to get the first sack of his young career. 

  1. Kaepernick rebounding

There isn't much to add here. Colin Kaepernick is coming off of consecutive tough outings and will be looking to bounce back against the Giants. Historically speaking, the 49ers quarterback has played well on a primetime stage, and he'll look to draw from those past successes to regain his mojo.

Geep Chryst alluded to the fact that there may be some noticeable changes in the 49ers offensive gameplan. It's fair to assume those are designed to get Kaepernick in a rhythm early.

  1. Winning the turnover battle

This is an obvious one and something that can be said for every game. However, Manning threw five interceptions against the 49ers last season and was a major storyline for why San Francisco came away with the victory.

Forcing turnovers hasn't been easy for San Francisco so far this season as the team owns a -5 turnover differential. A few takeaways, especially early, will go a long way in leaving MetLife Stadium with a victory in Week 5.

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