The San Francisco 49ers return to MetLife Stadium to face the New York Giants with their offensive skill position players under pressure to deliver and aid Nick Mullens as he looks to successfully deputize for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo and avoid an upset loss in Week 3.
One player he may lean on, particularly with George Kittle again missing out with a knee injury, is tight end Jordan Reed, who starred for the banged-up Niners in their 31-13 blowout of the New York Jets in the same stadium in Week 2.
Staying healthy has been the main problem for Reed throughout his career. However, when on the field, Reed is one of the best route-running tight ends in the NFL.
His ability in that area of the game shone through against the Jets, Reed creating separation with his footwork while also relying on his size advantage to haul in seven passes for 50 yards and two touchdowns.
The Giants' pass defense is superior to that of the Jets. They rank 12th in Football Outsiders DVOA at stopping the pass but New York has linebackers that Reed and the 49ers should be able to exploit.
Chief among that group is former Green Bay Packers linebacker Blake Martinez, whom 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has previously picked on and enjoyed significant success.
Reed's size and acumen as a route-runner make him a mismatch for linebackers and safeties and, though he and Mullens have had little chance to develop a rapport, the former Washington tight end could be a valuable safety net for the 49ers' backup.
In the latest Niner in Focus video, we reflect on Reed's two-score showing against the Jets.
If he can have a similar impact versus the Giants, the Niners will likely leave the east coast as a 2-1 team.
Media courtesy Icon Sportswire