San Francisco come into New York sitting at 2-1 to face a New York Jets team who also sit at 2-1. The two teams haven't met since the 49'ers took down the Jets in 2008 24-14, with San Francisco leading the head to head series 8-3 and the Jets missing a key component of its defense, you could be forgiven for worrying slightly about the Jets chances this weekend at Metlife stadium.
There is no question that the Jets task got vastly more difficult when it was announced that three time all pro and best defensive cornerback in the league Darrelle Revis had torn his ACL and was likely done for the year. San Francisco will bring a very good receiving core into New York that includes Mario Manningham, Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davies. The Jets will need to adapt the defensive strategy to accommodate the loss of Revis, in the only game Revis has missed this year, the Jets surrendered 265 yards through the air against the Steelers.
Rex Ryan will be hoping that 2010 first round selection Kyle Wilson can step up on the outside, Wilson has looked more comfortable playing on the outside however if he is matched up against a physical receiver like Michael Crabtree, it could be a long day for the 3rd year player out of Boise State. The knock on affect means that the Jets depth at Cornerback will need to step up in performances from Trufant and Lankster.
Unfortunately if you think I'm painting a dim picture, well it's going to continue right now. As mentioned this morning in my article, the Jets feature back is averaging 2.8 yards a carry and the 49'ers are giving up just 3.3 yards a carry on the ground. The Jets will need to figure out different ways to exploit the 49'ers defense, which could be difficult if Sanchez has no play-action to work off, especially when you consider that Stephen Hill will likely miss this contest with a Hamstring injury and the Jets thin receiving core gets a little thinner. Dustin Keller looks like he will play a part, so Sanchez will have his favourite target available however the 49'ers have possibly the best middle linebacker in football in Patrick Willis and a ball hawking safety in Dashon Goldson.
So is it all doom and gloom? well not really. Despite the 49'ers putting up impressive wins against the Packers and Lions, they did falter last weekend against the Vikings where they scored just the one touchdown and couldn't force a turnover on Christian Ponder. If we can keep the quarterback clean, there is a chance to exploit the aggressiveness of the 49'ers defense and especially their secondary.
Alex Smith threw his first interception of the season last week and the 49'ers gave away the football three times on route to their first loss. The Jets pass rush this year has been largely non existent (I'm getting used to saying this every year), we have heard this week that Coples is ready to burst out, however first we actually need to see him in the game rushing the passer on 3rd and long. He is truly a disruptive force as we saw in the pre-season however I have noticed that he doesn't seem to be on the field as much as I expected. I will be checking the % of snaps he plays first thing Monday morning.
This goes hand in hand with losing Revis, when you have a shutdown corner you can survive even without pressuring the Quarterback, however you give NFL QB's time to throw it becomes almost impossible to cover receivers. We are going to have to run out of the 4-3 more this week to get pressure on the Quarterback from the defensive end position, it may also help us bottle up Frank Gore who is averaging nearly 6 yards a carry so far this season. The Jets won't be able to afford to bring the house on their blitzes, so the guys up front are going to have to do their jobs and make it difficult for Alex Smith to throw the football
The 49'ers team that we saw in week three was vastly different to the one we saw in week one and week two. The Jets have a 2-1 record however that included a blowout victory against the Bills and a painful overtime win against the re-building dolphins. When we matched up against the Steelers, apart from the first quarter we looked over-matched in most facets of the game. It will be interesting to see if that continues this weekend at home in front of a buoyant crowd.