This is the first part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Giants matchups to watch Sunday, 10 a.m., at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
49ers CB Dontae Johnson vs. Giants WR Odell Beckham
Tale of the tape
Johnson (36): 6 foot 2, 200 pounds, rookie, N.C. State
Beckham (13): 5 foot 11, 198 pounds, rookie, LSU
Tramaine Brock (hamstring) and Jimmie Ward (foot) are out with injuries, so that means Johnson will take over as the team’s third cornerback. He will see action at left cornerback when the 49ers go into their nickel defense with Perrish Cox moving inside to cover the slot.
Beckham is an explosive wide receiver. The 49ers were rumored to be interested in trading up to acquire him in the draft. The Giants selected him with the No. 12 overall pick. After missing the first four games of the season with a hamstring injury, Beckham is making up for lost time. He has 25 receptions for 370 yards and three touchdowns in the past five games.
“He’s a great receiver,” 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. “He’s one that would’ve played early, even in the old system. Very talented, runs really good routes. Really good quickness. Got good speed. Really good run-after-the-catch. This guy’s the real deal as a receiver.”
Because of all the shuffling in the 49ers' secondary due to injuries, Johnson should see plenty of Beckham, who lines up predominantly on the right side of the Giants’ offensive formation. That would put him head-to-head on the outside against Johnson in passing situations. Johnson has played well when called upon, but this will be his biggest challenge.