For the Jets vs 49ers Week 14 matchup, here are the top three keys to victory for Gang Green to end their losing streak.
Oct 17, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Jets linebacker Darron Lee (50) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The New York Jets will visit the Golden State to take on the San Francisco 49ers in what should be an unwatchable game. Gang Green has fallen to 3-9 on the season and Chip Kelly’s group sits at 1-11. Each team’s most recent victory came in the first half of the year, so one of them will finally get another on Sunday barring a tie. Yes, this Jets vs 49ers game will be a snoozefest, to say the least.
Todd Bowles and company were humiliated by the Colts 41-10 on national television in Week 13. Andrew Luck had a field day and Chan Gailey’s offense continued to show no signs of life. To put the icing on the cake, Ryan Fitzpatrick permanently lost his starting gig and the stadium emptied by the third quarter. Bowles seems to have lost complete control. Injuries and the tough schedule did their damage, but you have to wonder if the Jets are still trying at this point.
The Niners, on the other hand, are somehow more pathetic than New York. A new coach and reshaped roster proved to be nowhere near enough to fix the disaster in San Francisco. They traveled to Chicago last week and got blown out in a contest they were actually favored to win. Jordan Howard balled out against the league’s worst run defense and Colin Kaepernick was benched after completing 1/5 passes for four yards. Could it get any worse in the Bay Area?
Looking at this game on paper, the 49ers might honestly be the pick. Bryce Petty will be shaky in his first career road start and Kaepernick will be motivated after his previous outing. San Francisco is also showing effort while the Jets aren’t. Who will come out on top in this ugly matchup? Here are three keys to victory for New York.
Next: 3. Run the ball
3. Run the ball
As stated previously, the 49ers are the worst team in football when it comes to stopping the run. With the exception of Weeks 1, 10 and 12, San Francisco has been shredded on the ground. Howard, David Johnson, Ezekiel Elliott, LeSean McCoy, Mark Ingram, LeGarrette Blount, Jacquizz Rodgers, Christine Michael and Fozzy Whittaker were the backs who put on clinics. On the year, they’ve allowed a whopping 2,032 rushing yards on 413 attempts and 17 touchdowns.
Matt Forte hasn’t been the elite rusher he’s known to be, although he’s had several big games that have put the Jets in position to win. Against Cincinnati, Buffalo, Baltimore, Cleveland, Miami and Los Angeles, he has a total of 568 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. Nearly 600 yards in six games is incredible and the 49ers could have the weakest defense of the teams on New York’s schedule. If things go right for once, it could become a career day for the veteran.
For this to happen, the Jets need to find a way to dominate in the trenches without their two best linemen. Ryan Clady and Nick Mangold are both on season-ending IR, so James Carpenter and Brian Winters need to step up. They’re both known for run blocking efficiency and there isn’t enough talent elsewhere on the line to get the job done. Petty shouldn’t be asked to do much. Run the ball and win like every team has done vs San Francisco.
Next: 2. Make the first tackle
Oct 2, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee (50) tackles Seattle Seahawks running back Christine Michael (32) in the second half at MetLife Stadium. Seattle Seahawks defeat the New York Jets 27-17. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports
2. Make the first tackle
Making tackles is something Gang Green has struggled with in the past few weeks. Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan made just about everybody miss in Week 12 and Indianapolis looked like men amongst boys last Monday. Calvin Pryor missed the Colts game due to a concussion, however, he seems to be on track to suit up this Sunday. For New York to get back in the win column, he’ll without a doubt be a key component.
In his absence, Darron Lee and Rontez Miles did a solid job cleaning up the mess that was the Jets’ secondary. Darrelle Revis and Buster Skrine were swinging and missing in coverage as well as tackling. It’s not hard to see how Indy dropped 41 points as T.Y. Hilton and Dwayne Allen put them on skates from start to finish. The 49ers may be the laughing stock of the NFL alongside the Browns, but they have weapons who can break a tackle and take it to the house.
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Look for Torrey Smith, Vance McDonald and New York’s old friend Jeremy Kerley to be the featured targets for Kaepernick. Smith and Kerley have breakaway speed and McDonald has shown he’s one of the best tight ends in the league after the catch. You can’t forget about Carlos Hyde either. The Ohio State graduate is a freight train and even though the Jets’ run defense is stout, one whiffed tackle could be detrimental. This is where we find out if effort truly is a problem.
Next: 1. Keep Colin Kaepernick in check
Dec 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) drops back to pass during the first quarter of the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
1. Keep Colin Kaepernick in check
Kaepernick may be struggling both on and off the field, although he can hurt defenses in the blink of an eye. This could be a nightmare matchup for the Jets because we all know how quick and elusive he can be. Tyrod Taylor seems to find success vs New York’s defense and we saw Luck run around quite a bit too. Kaepernick could be the best running quarterback in football and with how bad the Jets’ pass rush has been, this isn’t ideal.
What’s scary is that the Nevada product is having one of the best rushing years of his life according to the numbers. He has 393 yards and a touchdown on 52 attempts, which rounds out to 7.6 yards per rush. Through the air, he has 1,444 yards along with 10 touchdowns, three interceptions, and a fumble. He’s taken decent care of the ball, however, his completion percentage (54.5%) is the lowest of his career.
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For the Jets to hold him in check, the front-seven needs to play some of their best football. Leonard Williams has to keep it up, Muhammad Wilkerson needs to get more involved and Sheldon Richardson must show more effort. The only effort he showed against Indianapolis was when he shoved Luck out of bounds to cost his team 15 yards. As for the linebackers, they have to keep Kaepernick in front of them because they’d lose a foot race. The moral of the story is that if he plays well, Gang Green is doomed.