The San Francisco 49ers are a bad football team. The New York Jets are also a bad football team. But there are levels of bad, and there are good reasons to believe the 49ers are a level below even the lowly Jets. This lends the game to all sorts of terrible statistics.
For instance, here's a fun fact. The New York Jets have not won a game on the West coast since the 2010 playoff win against the San Diego Chargers. Well, that's not very encouraging.
Here's another fun fact: the San Francisco 49ers are the first 1-11 team to be favored in a game in more than 20 years. They are the first NFL team on an 11 game losing streak to be favored in NFL history. Now that's downright insulting to the Jets.
Fortunately the San Francisco 49ers have plenty of terrible stats of their own. For example, the 49ers rank last in the NFL in time of possession. The 49ers rank last in the NFL in points allowed. And yards allowed. And rushing yards allowed. And rushing yards allowed per attempt. The San Francisco 49ers have lost eleven straight games. Since pitching a shutout against the Los Angeles Rams on opening day, the 49ers have allowed 24 or more points in every game this season. The 49ers have scored 24 or less points in their last 10 straight games.
There are all sorts of stats indicating just how bad the 49ers have been. But we're going to focus on one stat here that should color the entire Jets game plan this week. Here it is, the Stat Of The Week! How thrilling! I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about it. Are you ready for this?
The San Francisco 49ers have allowed more than 170 yards rushing in seven of their 12 games played this year. That's almost unfathomably bad run defense. The Buffalo Bills racked up a ridiculous 313 rushing yards on the 49ers. In three straight games the Bills put up 313 rushing yards, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers followed with 249 yards rushing, and the New Orleans Saints capped an epic awful stretch of run defense by running for 248 yards. That is an astonishing level of ineptitude in run defense. On the other hand, at least the 49ers kept continually improving during that stretch.
This is the run defense the Jets face today. It doesn't take a Belichick to realize the way to attack the 49ers is on the ground. So we should look for a heavy dose of Matt Forte and Bilal Powell (Ha! Almost fooled you with that Bilal Powell heavy dosage wishful thinking, didn't I?). This game sets up as one where the ideal from the conservative Jets coaches standpoint is to run, run and run some more. Keep on running and with any luck the 49ers never stop you. For those looking for Bryce Petty to open up the offense and sling the ball all over the place today's game might not be ideal for that. Of course with the level of ineptitude shown by the Jets throughout the season, and with the Jets offensive line decimated by injuries it would not come as a big surprise if somehow the Jets make the 49ers' run defense look like a powerhouse.
With two bottom dwelling teams meeting up, you never know which team's weaknesses will make the other team's weaknesses look like a strength. The Jets will surely want to run the ball to excess. The stats say this should work. So why do I have a sneaking suspicion the Jets will manage to get behind by double digits and force the offense to abandon the run? That just seems like the kind of season it's been.