After a disastrous home loss to the Denver Broncos, the New York Jets are back in action 3000 miles away. The San Francisco 49ers will play host to Gang Green, but the way they have played in recent weeks, don't expect them to be very hospitable.
Interim coach Mike Singletary and new quarterback Shaun Hill are playing for their jobs next year. Singletary is 2-3 in his five games as coach, while Hill is 2-2, but it is clear that they are a much better team than they were with J.T. O'Sullivan.
With Hill at quarterback, the 49ers do not turn the ball over every play. Their offense is really run by Frank Gore, one of the best runningbacks in the game. Gore has run well at home this year, and he will look to take Peyton Hillis's lead and actually run well against a Jets run defense that had been stout all year.
As far as their passing game goes, Mike Martz is their offensive coordinator, so you can expect their top few weapons to see a lot of looks in the passing game. Martz has been pass-happy in the past, but Singletary has calmed him down a little. However, in this matchup, he might take a page out of the Broncos playbook and pass to set up the run, exploiting a Jets secondary that has struggled at times.
Defensively, the 49ers are pretty average. Patrick Willis is a star young linebacker in the middle, leading an underrated run defense. Still, they are a little undersized, and the Jets should be able to run the ball pretty well. Marshawn Lynch ran for 130 yards last week against this defense, so yards are available.
The pass defense was torched by Terrell Owens two weeks ago, and it is where most teams have been able to generate their yards against the 49ers. Nate Clements was given a big contract to be a shutdown cornerback, and while he has normally played fairly well, he certainly has not lived up to his contract.
The Jets can't afford to take this team lightly. They should beat them, but they should have beaten Denver. The Jets need to prove to the NFL that they are for real. Back to back losses against Denver and San Francisco will cancel out wins against New England and Pittsburgh. Traveling 3000 miles is never easy, but the 49ers are making the same trip, coming back from Buffalo.
Look for the Jets to come out throwing early with more success than they managed against Denver. They should be able to move the ball on the 49ers. They just can't turn the ball over, and they have to convert in the redzone. If they do both of those things, the Jets should come home victorious. If they struggle, the 49ers will gain confidence and give the Jets all they can handle.
Jets 28, 49ers 20