The San Francisco 49ers will be looking to rebound from their first loss of the season when they travel east to face a fellow 2-1 squad in the New York Jets. When the final whistle blows, both teams will have reached the quarter pole of the NFL season.
San Francisco was shocked by the Minnesota Vikings last week. After terrific wins over the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions, the 49ers weren't able to provide the same type of effort for a third straight game and the Vikings took advantage.
The Jets were able to survive an ugly game against the Miami Dolphins, winning in overtime. With the New England Patriots losing two of their first three, the door is open for New York if it can continue to find different ways to win games.
Which team will move to 3-1?
It should be quite a battle on Sunday afternoon. Here's a peek at all the vital information for the matchup followed by some predictions.
Where: MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
When: Sunday, Sept. 30 at 1 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Spread: 49ers -4 (via Vegas Insider)
49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh is great in getting his team to refocus after a loss. Last season, they won all three games following losses by an average of 16 points. Two of those three games were against playoff teams.
Even though they should have beaten the Vikings with relative ease, it's easy to have a letdown after two high-profile victories. San Francisco is still one of the top contenders in the NFC and should have a strong bounce-back performance.
On the other hand, it's hard to feel completely convinced about the Jets. They were crushed by the Steelers and were barely able to squeak by a Dolphins team in transition. Mark Sanchez will struggle against the 49ers' defense, leading to a San Francisco cover.
Over/Under: 41.5 (via Vegas Insider)
When you consider the defenses and offensive question marks for both sides, under is the way to go here. While it's a low line by NFL standards, it's hard to imagine either offense generating much sustained success throughout the game.
The only way a game between these two teams would go over is if it becomes a turnover fest where the defenses are responsible for scoring or putting their offenses in terrific field position. The offenses can't do it alone.
Although that's possible, it's not likely. Both head coaches preach ball control to their quarterbacks, so look for plenty of safe decisions and a lot of punts. All told, it should end pretty safely under the line.
Key Injuries (via CBS Sports)
49ers: Brandon Jacobs (questionable, knee), Isaac Sopoaga (questionable, ankle/knee), Ted Ginn Jr. (questionable, ankle) and Patrick Willis (probable, ankle)
Jets: Darrelle Revis (out, knee), Bart Scott (questionable, toe), Dustin Keller (questionable, hamstring), Stephen Hill (questionable, hamstring), Antonio Cromartie (probable, shoulder) and Mark Sanchez (probable, back)
Fantasy Big Plays
49ers: Vernon Davis
Davis leads all tight ends in average scoring at more than 13 fantasy points per game. He's caught at least one touchdown in every contest, clearly establishing himself as Alex Smith's favorite target when the 49ers are in the red zone.
He gets to face a Jets defense that has already allowed two touchdowns to tight ends even though they haven't faced any of the league's elite players at the position. It's a favorable matchup Davis must exploit if the 49ers are going to win.
At a position where production is limited, Davis has become one of the most reliable fantasy producers over the past four seasons. He should have no trouble keeping his early-season roll alive against the Jets.
Jets: Santonio Holmes
If Holmes was playing in a better passing offense he would probably be a top-tier fantasy producer like he was in his final season with the Steelers. That's not the case, so inconsistency is expected, but he's off to a solid start.
He's scored 22 points over the past two weeks, including a 147-yard showing against the Dolphins last week. Even though having to rely on Sanchez to get your fantasy receiver the ball isn't an ideal scenario, Holmes has found a way to make plays.
On a Jets offense without many appealing fantasy options, Holmes stands out. The 49ers' pass defense hasn't been as dominant this season, which should allow the veteran wideout to scrape together a third straight good game.
Key to 49ers Win: Defensive improvement
The 49ers ranked in the top five in points and yards allowed last season. They haven't been able to find that elite form quite yet, currently standing in the middle of the pack of both stats. So there's certainly room for improvement.
That being said, getting to play teams with great offenses like the Packers and Lions should make facing the dysfunctional Jets attack seem pretty easy. It all starts with stopping the run and forcing Sanchez to throw a lot.
Patrick Willis leads the way as always. He sets the tone for the entire defense with his intense play like so many middle linebackers before him. He will make sure the team's defense is back in form before long.
How many yards will the Jets rush for?
Key to Jets Win: Establish running game
The Jets are not going to be successful if Sanchez is forced to throw 33 times per game, especially since he's completing barely over 50 percent of those passes. After a strong opener against the Buffalo Bills, he's struggled in each of the past two games.
That means New York has to focus on getting the rushing attack going. Whether it's Shonn Greene, who continues to struggle, or Bilal Powell, somebody needs to step up and start making plays to take pressure off Sanchez.
Most importantly, the Jets have to stick with the run for all four quarters. Even if they are unable to gain traction early, they can't afford to abandon the game plan and start winging it. That would be a recipe for disaster.
49ers 17, Jets 10