Last week, the Jets suffered a very discouraging loss at the hands of the Buffalo Bills, 27-17. This week, the challenge ahead is even more difficult as NY is set to meet the reigning NFC champions, the 0-1 San Francisco 49ers.
Perhaps few were expecting the 49ers to be looking for their first win in this game. But the team also put on a disappointing display in Week 1, losing to the new-look Cardinals by four points on the road. However, the truth is that the margin between these two winless squads is as big as it gets in the NFL.
This sets up a Week-Two matchup between 0-1 teams in which only one side seems capable of showing up for a fight. No doubt, this is a great opportunity for SF to get back in the win column in one of their easiest games of the season. Moreover, an impressive performance should not leave the game particularly close.
In Buffalo, New York looked terrible on every possible level and all fronts. Neither the passing game nor the running game provided any upsides. Furthermore, the secondary also strongly disappointed. A bad start left Adam Gase’s team without a response and a 21-3 halftime deficit. It was truly a display without many positives, if any. And it all gets more brutal against a solid, if not great, 49ers all-around team.
The Jets offense comes into the game without its only reliable receiver and starting running back on the IR list. Yet, they’re only seven-point underdogs in the betting department. Could they even keep the game close, or will the NFC champions open a big lead early on?
JETS COULD STOP THE 49ERS RUNNING GAME
If the Jets did one thing right against the Bills, it was the defensive line living up to its reputation against opposing rushing units. New York was one of the top defenses against the run in 2019 and similarly started 2020. The Bills recorded just 98 yards on the ground, 57 of which came from runs by quarterback Josh Allen. Running Backs Devin Singletary and Zack Moss posted just 41.
The Jets could seek to keep up that success against the 49ers; whose rushing unit proved to have downgraded from its elite form in 2019. San Francisco rushed for 123 yards, but Raheem Mostert led the pack with just 57 from 15 carries. The unit as a group recorded 4.9 yards per rush from 25 rushes. The sharpness of last year’s second-best running game wasn’t on display, giving the Jets an area to use to their benefit.
WHAT NOW WITH GEORGE KITTLE OUT?
The 49ers were dealt a significant loss to their offensive personnel group with tight end George Kittle being ruled out on Friday. Kittle was one of Jimmy Garropollo’s most efficient targets against Arizona with 4 receptions for 44 yards. The next closest candidate that doesn’t come from the backfield was Kendrick Bourne with 2 catches for 34 yards.
With Deebo Samuel also on the IR, the 49ers receiving core is far from solid at the moment. However, even Bourne and Brandon Aiyuk are enough to exploit the weaknesses in this Jets secondary. Although Blessuan Austin did provide a positive turnout, Pierre Desir disappointed in his Jets debut. The former Colts corner allowed 4/4 in coverage for 56 yards, equal to a perfect passer rating.
With the 49ers possibly using Bourne and Aiyuk down the field simultaneously on deep routes, New York doesn’t have the depth to stop the Niners duo. If Brian Poole engages in press coverage in the nickel, this opens room for Trent Taylor, Mohamed Sanu, and Dante Pettis on shorter plays.
THE JETS O-LINE IS CRUCIAL
One of the most vital matchups on Sunday at MetLife Stadium could be between the Jets offensive line and the 49ers defensive line. NY’s front line had a mixed outing last time out. Despite Sam Darnold being sacked three times, he dropped back 13 times, and the running game also didn’t thrive.
The expectations after a busy spring for Joe Douglas in that department require the Jets O-Line to prove themselves over the long term. A good performance against a productive Niners pass-rush could set the tone moving forward.
San Francisco’s D-Line didn’t stand out either. Kyler Murray was sacked just three times on 16 dropbacks. Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, and Javon Kinlaw were all very quiet, not posting a single sack and combining eight total tackles.
This jumps as an early close matchup, which either team could use to swing the game in their favor. When the Jets provide Darnold time in the pocket, he’s shown more than once to work with little to no weaponry.
Breshad Perriman (5 targets, 3 rec, 5.7 yrd/rec) vs. Emannuel Moseley (83.7 allowed passer rating, 15 targets)
Jets Offensive Line (3 allowed sacks) vs. 49ers Defensive Line (3 sacks)
49ers Running Game (25 rushes, 4.9 yrd/rush) vs. Jets Rushing Defense (98 yards allowed)
|New York Jets||San Francisco 49ers|
|WR Denzel Mims [OUT]||CB Richard Sherman [OUT]|
|WR Jamison Crowder [OUT]||CB Jason Verrett [OUT]|
|TE George Kittle [OUT]|
The Jets are simply unable to move the ball offensively with nobody around Sam Darnold. The going gets even tougher with Crowder out and the unproven Breshad Perriman as the leader. Defensively, Mostert and company could deal the Jets an unpleasant surprise in the ground game while the secondary is likely to struggle again. Prediction: 30-14 San Francisco
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