Though coming off of a surprising 24-13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, things couldn’t appear much better in San Francisco these days. The 49ers are considered one of the more balanced teams in the NFL and possess a defense that has stymied two of the league’s top offenses in the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions so far this season.
The key for San Francisco will be if quarterback Alex Smith can continue building on last year’s success. He was able to minimize costly mistakes in 2011, finally showing signs of why the 49ers made him the top pick in the 2005 draft.
While sitting with a respectable 2-1 record, the Jets enter this game with more question marks than they desired at this point in the season.
All-Pro cornerback Derrelle Revis will miss the remainder of this year with a torn ACL, causing the Jets to insert running back Joe McKnight in to replace him at the position. How this experiment turns out is anybody’s guess.
While Rex Ryan and Co. attract all sorts of attention—and seem to welcome it as well—the Revis injury is something that could derail the Jets’ entire season. And the 49ers coming to town isn’t what this team needed right now.
Here is one bold prediction for each team in Sunday’s matchup:
Alex Smith Throws for 4 Touchdowns for the First Time in His Career
Smith and the 49ers offense will never be mistaken for what the New England Patriots run with Tom Brady under center. San Francisco is built on running the football, controlling the clock and great defense.
However, Smith is a very efficient quarterback who runs a smooth game, minimizes mistakes and finds the open receiver to make timely plays. This seems to be working quite well for San Francisco these days.
The Jets are soft in run defense—allowing 148.7 yards per game—which should play into the strength of the 49ers. While Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter are set up for a solid performance out of the backfield, San Francisco is also aware of the absence of Revis.
The 49ers would do well to exploit this advantage by confusing the Jets into playing into their strength, leaving Smith plenty of time and space to find his targets all game long.
Tim Tebow Totals 5 Touches and Scores a Touchdown
When the Jets traded for Tim Tebow, nobody knew what to expect. Would he challenge Mark Sanchez for the starting quarterback spot, or was it just another attention-grabbing ploy by a team that bathes in the spotlight?
Regardless of the intent, it looks as though the Jets are being especially meticulous as to just when and how Tebow is used, still feeling that there is a place for him on the field.
While his seven carries for 38 yards don’t exactly scream off the stat sheet, Tebow has proven that he can be useful in the run game throughout his career.
At some point New York will begin to increase his workload if it will benefit the team. We could start to see more designed plays for Tebow out of the backfield as a pass catcher, too.
Why not start this week against a 49ers defense that might not be expecting it?