The 49ers begin their two week trip to the East Coast with a visit to the New York Jets on Sunday. Although both clubhouses are 0-1, the gulf in quality between the two teams could not be wider.
This game against the Jets presents the perfect opportunity for the Niners, and Jimmy Garoppolo, to bounce back after losing to divisional rivals Arizona Cardinals in Week One.
Garoppolo struggled mightily against a lackluster Cardinals defense. While the box score does not indicate this, Jimmy G threw for 249 yards with a 2:0 TD: INT ratio, the former Patriot looked shaky in the pocket, off-rhythm in his throws, and just downright bad.
While the Jets defense features some underrated playmakers, you would expect the Niners to bounce back against a lowly Jets team. However, if the Jets were to upset the Niners on Sunday, it’s time to hit the panic button even if it is just Week Two.
Jets Offense vs. 49ers Defense
At the start of their opening game, the Jets offense had more plays ran (6) than yards gained (4). It also took them until the end of the first quarter to gain their initial first down. Before Jamison Crowder’s 69-yard touchdown off of a screen pass, the Jets offense looked painfully dour.
Speaking of Crowder, the wide receiver is currently the Jets’ most dangerous skill position player, recording 115 yards receiving, 7 catches, and one touchdown score against the Bills. If Crowder plays on Sunday, he is currently listed on the injury report with a hamstring issue. Then he stands a good chance of being productive against a banged-up Niners secondary.
On Wednesday, Richard Sherman would be placed on IR, making him unavailable for at least three weeks. Emmanuel Moseley is expected to take his place as cornerback one on the depth chart. Even though Moseley is a productive player, the drop off in talent between the future Hall of Famer and the undrafted free agent is important to note.
The matchup between Jets rookie left-tackle, Mekhi Becton, and 49ers right-end, Nick Bosa, is a mouthwatering proposition in the trenches. However, Becton, who was PFF’s highest-graded offensive rookie in Week One, injured his knee during the Bills game and was limited in practice on Wednesday. The injury doesn’t appear to be too serious, so there’s a good chance Becton will take the gridiron against Bosa. Although, Becton will need to be at full-health to shutdown the sophomore star in red and gold.
Despite the banged-up secondary, the 49ers should not be overly concerned with this Jets offense. It’s only Week Two and a half the Jets roster seems to have given up on Adam Gase, making him the odds on favorite to be the first coach fired this year.
It’s entirely possible that Sam Darnold steps up to the plate and throws for 300 yards against this injured Niners secondary. Although, the lack of any real weapons (Le’veon Bell is on IR) makes things tough for Darnold. Especially since the Niners defense is structurally sound at every other position.
49er Offense vs. Jets Defense
As mentioned previously, this game is a golden opportunity for 49ers quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, to bounce back after his ghastly performance in Week One. The Niners quarterback has been in a bit of a slump since the NFC Divisional Round against the Vikings.
But things were made worse for Garoppolo on Sunday as two of his top receivers, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, were out with injury. Moreover, the Niners had their third-string center starting, leading to Garoppolo facing a lot of pressure from the interior.
Things are moving in a forward trajectory for the Niners offense. Brandon Aiyuk and second-string center, Ben Garland, look to be available to play. Furthermore, George Kittle’s knee sprain does not appear to be too serious. Nonetheless, expect increased snap counts for Jordan Reed and Ross Dwelley as Kyle Shanahan manages Kittle’s workload.
As well as Aiyuk getting his NFL debut, newly acquired veteran Mohamed Sanu has a chance to see the field on Sunday. Only signed on Tuesday night, the Niners are at such need at receiver that Sanu could see meaningful snaps against the Jets secondary.
When it comes to this Gregg Williams coached Jets defense, don’t be surprised if one or two players step up on Sunday and make things tricky for the Niners. Although the Jets traded away star safety Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye has slotted into the strong safety role nicely. Sophomore player Quinnen Williams can cause problems from the defensive tackle position. Especially against the shaky interior of the 49ers offensive line.
However, this Jets defense doesn’t have the talent to compete against the 49ers, and more importantly, Kyle Shanahan. Expect the Niners offense to be more clinical, more decisive, and less forgiving on Sunday as both Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo look to bounce back from a frustrating loss in Week One.
In conclusion, the Jets could cause a few problems for the Niners in Week Two. After all, ‘any given Sunday.’ However, with the Super Bowl finalists looking to prove a point, it could turn out to be a romp come the final whistle.
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