Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Breida set to shine on national stage

Levin T. Black
Nov 10, 2018 at 11:58 AM

San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida could be in for a leading role on the NFL's biggest stage this Monday. The 49ers are set to play the New York Giants on Monday Night Football and the matchup is a good one for the 49ers' leading rusher to get back on track.

Breida has been playing hurt in recent weeks. This has lead to a falling off of sorts. In the past three games Breida has just 33 carries for 101 yards. The 3.06 yards per carry he's averaged in those games is far below the 5.53 he's averaged on the season.

Breida began the season on a high note. He was named the the NFL's FedEx Ground Player of the Week in Week Two when he ran for 135 yards. Thanks to the big performance, he was the league's leading rusher following Week Two. Injuries have robbed him of large chunks of playing time all season. He is still 10th in rushing yards with 531 on the season but just 21st in rushing attempts due to the injuries. He's had just one game with more than 15 carries.

Thanks to the 49ers' schedule, he may finally be healthy. The 49ers will have had 11 days since their last game when they take the field on Monday. Breida should be set to get a large portion of the carries due to his improved health and fellow running back Raheem Mostert's broken arm. That is not the only reason Breida should be in for a big game though.

The Giants are 23rd in rushing yards allowed per game at 122.4 and 22nd in rushing yards allowed per attempt at 4.5. The favorable matchup goes deeper. Take a look at the 49ers' results on rushes this season.

The 49ers have succeeded running the ball in all directions but especially on those centered on rookie right tackle Mike McGlinchey. On rushes just to the inside of McGlinchey (right tackle in image) the 49ers have averaged a combined total of 6.35 yards per rush. On rushes just to the outside of McGlinchey (right end in image) the average rush jumps to a team best 6.97 yards.

This becomes the key to Breida's potential to dominate on Monday when compared to the Giants' defensive rushing breakdown by NFL Savant. Opponents have averaged 6.93 yards per right tackle rush against the Giants this season. That's the highest average they have allowed.

While they are better on runs around the right end, allowing 3.89 yards per, the Giants will be playing without cornerback Eli Apple for the first time since trading him to the New Orleans Saints. Apple is a bigger corner who often succeeds at stopping outside runs from getting to cut up field. Playing predominating on the left side of the Giants' defense, Apple would have been the corner defending those right end runs. With him gone, the 49ers should have a better opportunity to make the corner and find daylight.

If there is daylight to be found, Breida will find it and exploit it with his elite level speed. He has succeeded running to the left this season, averaging 5.32 yards per attempt to that side, but has been at his best going to the right. He's gashed defenses for a respectable 4.6 yards per rush to the right end and has annihilated defenses for an astounding 11.18 yards per rush to the right tackle.

The 49ers overall are really good running to the right tackle, Breida is at his best on runs to the right tackle and the Giants are at their worst on runs to the right tackle. Expect the 49ers to test runs to the right side early and often against the Giants. As the 49ers right tackle, McGlinchey may be a sneaky game MVP but that's another story.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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