Looking ahead to this Sunday, the New York Jets will play their home opener against the San Francisco 49ers. On paper, this team should have no chance against the reigning NFC champions. Meanwhile, the 49ers are only favored by 7 points. I think the Jets can surprise a lot of people on Sunday. This feels like a classic trap game for the Niners. They have to fly across the country and play a 1 PM game. The Niners are also projected to be missing wide receivers Deebo Samuel and rookie Brandon Aiyuk. Star tight end George Kittle did not practice today. A few days ago, lockdown corner Richard Sherman was placed on injured reserve.
The Niners offensive strength is their run game especially with the return of Jerick McKinnon. Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman compliment him in a loaded backfield. Gang Green’s strength on defense is stopping the run. The Jets held the Buffalo Bills to 98 yards on the ground last week. Last season, New York was second best at defending the run. The Jets struggled mightily against the pass in Week 1. The Niners will look to expose New York’s weakness. The Jets don’t necessarily have the most athletic coverage linebackers. The team is hoping to have linebacker Avery Williamson back on Sunday.
Last Sunday, the New York Jets lost to the Buffalo Bills 27-17. There were many facets of the offense that left fans concerned. Constant offensive three and outs took place. Sam Darnold showed regression from the 6-2 finish to last season, missing key throws and making terrible decisions. Receivers dropped passes. Head coach Adam Gase‘s playcalling didn’t work in Sam Darnold’s favor.
Sunday will be a pivotal game for Sam Darnold. Darnold will be without his best offensive weapon in Le’Veon Bell. However, this is a pivotal bounce-back game for the 23-year old. If Darnold can pull off a performance like he did in 2018 against the Houston Texans, or last year against the Dallas Cowboys, he will have Jets Nation buzzing with optimism. However, if he plays poorly and the Jets struggle to move the ball all day, we will likely have another week of hearing about Trevor Lawrence.
Gang Green came out really flat against the Buffalo Bills last week. At halftime, they were trailing 21-3. The offense was inept. Sam Darnold struggled immensely. The running game was non-existent. The edge rushers couldn’t get to Josh Allen. Ultimately, the Jets lost 27-17. The defense held their own in the second half. But, the offense only scored one touchdown in real-time. Tight end Chris Herndon crucially fumbled a screen pass in the fourth quarter, killing the Jets momentum. Later, the team scored on a rushing touchdown by Josh Adams in garbage time.
The Niners traded away DeForest Buckner in the offseason, but still have a dominant defensive line led by Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead. They are led in the middle of the field by one of the most underrated defenders in the league in Fred Warner.
For the Jets to be successful on Sunday, they will have to start to throw the ball vertically. They cannot throw screen passes and throw to the flat. Darnold will have to utilize Breshad Perriman down the field and Chris Herndon up the seam. The Jets should test the backup 49ers corners. If Adam Gase wants to be successful on Sunday, he will have to play to Darnold’s strengths and allow him to make throws on the run. I think Sunday will be a great test for the young New York Jets.