The NY Jets will face a tall task this week as they take on the San Francisco 49ers.
The NY Jets and San Francisco 49ers both enter their Week 2 matchup with 0-1 records following disappointing Week 1 losses. But despite their similar record, these two teams couldn’t be in any more different situations.
San Francisco is fresh off a Super Bowl appearance and a 13-3 regular-season record. And despite their opening week loss to the Arizona Cardinals, few teams appear to be more talented than the 49ers.
The Jets, on the other hand, seem to be the opposite.
An ugly Week 1 loss to the Buffalo Bills seems to indicate that the Jets’ roster is among the worst in the NFL. And with injuries piling up, it’s hard to see this team winning more than five games let alone contending for a playoff spot.
This game seems like a foregone conclusion for Jets fans who just saw their team sleepwalk through a loss to the Bills a week ago. But how are 49ers fans feeling about this matchup?
That’s the question we asked ourselves and it’s why we teamed up with Peter Panacy of our sister site, Niner Noise, to gain some insight into the mind of 49ers fans ahead of this Week 2 showdown?
Here are the results of our discussion.
Next: 1. Changes for the 49ers?
1. What changes must the 49ers make against the NY Jets?
The 49ers didn’t exactly enjoy an ideal Week 1. A disappointing loss to the Cardinals has the team at 0-1 looking for a rebound victory over the Jets in Week 2.
They’re certainly the heavy favorites, but that doesn’t mean they’ll just be able to waltz into this game and earn the victory.
We asked Peter what changes the 49ers must make this week and this is what he said.
Question: The 49ers lost a tough game to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1. What changes need to be made in Week 2 to ensure that they find more success against the NY Jets?
“San Francisco’s defense, despite giving up late leads twice, actually performed well enough for the first three quarters. It was just on the field too much, which was a direct result of the Niners going just 2-of-11 on third-down attempts.
Part of the problems there was quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo holding onto the ball too long. Did some research on it, and he averaged a hold time of 2.83 seconds, according to NextGen Stats.
And Pro Football Focus said his passer rating on tosses when he had the ball for 2.5-plus seconds was 67.5.
You want one area where the 49ers need adjustments, that’s it.”
Next: 2. How will 49ers deal with injuries at cornerback?
2. Can the NY Jets take advantage of the 49ers’ injuries at cornerback?
Much like the Jets, the 49ers are dealing with an abundance of injuries at the moment. Richard Sherman and Richie James have been placed on IR while the likes of Dee Ford, George Kittle, and Jason Verrett have been declared out for Sunday’s game.
Other than the wide receiver position, perhaps the position most heavily affected has been cornerback. Sherman is out and Verrett’s absence costs them some valuable depth.
We asked Peter if he was concerned about the team’s injuries at the position and here is how he responded.
Question: San Francisco is incredibly banged up at cornerback at the moment. How do you expect that to affect the defense’s performance on Sunday?
“If Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder was healthy, it’d be worrisome San Francisco is banged up. Crowder is the exact kind of receiver who could give the Niners secondary some troubles.
But with the Jets wide receiver corps banged up too, it’s not as big an issue as before. And remember, both boundary cornerbacks, Emmanuel Moseley and Ahkello Witherspoon, have been full-time starters before.
So it’s not a general lack of experience.”
Next: 3. What role will Brandon Aiyuk play?
3. What role will Brandon Aiyuk play against the NY Jets?
One player the 49ers are excited to see return from injury this week is rookie first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk. Aiyuk has been dealing with a hamstring injury for the better part of the last few weeks but is expected to return on Sunday.
That return will mark his NFL debut — a welcome sight for a beaten up 49ers receiving corps.
What are 49ers fans expecting from Aiyuk in his debut? That’s the question we posed to Peter.
Question: What role do you expect rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk to play in his NFL debut?
“It’s so hard to say. Brandon Aiyuk was impressive in training camp before missing the second part of it with a hamstring injury. Tack on no minicamps, OTAs, or a preseason, and his development has been hindered.
There’s no way around it.
Still, Aiyuk will probably see a good deal of snaps as the No. 3 option on the outside, spelling a starting tandem of either Kendrick Bourne, Mohamed Sanu or Dante Pettis, depending on how head coach Kyle Shanahan draws up his offense.
At max, I’d probably expect Aiyuk to be out there around 30 percent of offensive snaps.”
Next: 4. What concerns you the most about the NY Jets?
4. What concerns you the most about the NY Jets?
The Jets don’t appear to be a very concerning team for the 49ers, on paper. Despite San Francisco’s many injuries, their roster remains infinitely more talented than their opponents.
But that doesn’t mean that Sunday’s game will necessarily be a cakewalk — although that outcome is certainly very possible.
We wanted to gain insight into what, if anything, was worrying 49ers fans ahead of this Week 2 matchup. That’s why we asked Peter that very question.
Question: What is the one thing that concerns you the most about this Jets team?
“New York’s run defense is awfully good. Last year, Football Outsiders ranked the Jets run defense No. 2 in the NFL.
And it looked like that trend would continue over into 2020, at least based on what the Jets managed to do defensively against the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. The run defense still looks very good.
Considering the 49ers are still a run-first offense, I could see that approach falling apart and the rest of the Niners offense struggling to find any rhythm because of it.”
Next: 5. Final predictions for the game
5. Final predictions — who wins, NY Jets or 49ers?
The result of this game seems like a foregone conclusion. Despite their Week 1 loss and their countless injures, the 49ers are still a significantly better team than the Jets.
Both the 49ers’ roster and coaching staff are exponentially better than their counterparts which should, on paper, lead to an easy victory for San Francisco.
But anything can happen in football so we asked Peter to list any final predictions and take a stab at what he thinks the final score will be.
Question: Final predictions — who do you see winning and what’s the final score?
“Despite the Niners’ Week 1 loss, they still seem to be the superior team, at least on paper. Granted, East Coast games for West Coast teams are never easy, and it’ll be an early challenge for San Francisco to bounce back in this context after a disappointing Week 1 loss.
Yet the 49ers, despite some key injuries, still have plenty of weapons on both sides of the ball and should be able to win on all three phases.
I’d look for something of a low-scoring game, perhaps 20-13 in favor of San Francisco.”
Special thanks again to Peter for his help and make sure to check out more of his work over at Niner Noise.