Last week, the importance of a win against a lesser opponent (Miami Dolphins) was paramount. Although the game was not won in stylish fashion, the Jets were able to walk into a hostile Sunlife Stadium and pull out an important win. This week the Jets face a much more talented and physical team, in the San Francisco 49ers. The gap in talent from last week to this week has certainly widened, the Jets must prove that they can play with the best teams in the league and will get their chance to do so today.
In the first two weeks of the season the San Francisco 49ers looked like the class of the NFL. The 49ers dismantled their first two opponents and were atop the NFL power rankings. Last week the 49ers hit a bump in the road, losing a poorly played game to the Minnesota Vikings. The 49ers, who I believe to be one of, if not, the best coached team in the league, will surely be looking to get back on the right track with a win today.
The Vikings laid out a blueprint to the league about how to beat the once almighty 49ers. The Jets can certainly win this game but must play better than we saw last week. The run game will have to show up for the Jets and Mark Sanchez will have to be on his "A" game in this contest. The 49ers field one of the best defenses in the league and without question the most physical. The Jets can not afford to turn the ball over; our young receivers must step up big and hold on to accurately thrown passes.
Till this point running back Shonne Green has not played particularly well. Whether it’s been an offensive line issue or a running back issue, this week the run game must produce. The 49ers are a run heavy team that looks to control the clock with their own ground and pound style led by running back Frank Gore. The Jets run game will need to be efficient and control some of that clock. First down conversions will be an essential key to success, as they usually are in this league. Mark Sanchez must take care of the football and the offense must limit turnovers as a whole.
The Jets defense, which has played well thus far, will take the field for the first time, in a long time, without All Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis. Former first round draft pick Kyle Wilson will step in for Revis and look to prove he was worth the pick. The Jets will rely on him to shut down some of the talented receivers that the 49ers acquired this offseason (Randy Moss, Mario Manningham).
The key for the defense will be to slow down the 49ers run game. Alex Smith has become a capable quarterback under head coach Jim Harbaugh but he has not proven himself to be a quarterback that can carry a team. If the Jets defense can shut down the San Francisco the run game and put the game solely on the arm of Alex Smith, it certainly would put the 49ers in unfamiliar territory.