The San Francisco 49ers started the season with back-to-back wins over 2011 playoffs teams, the only club to do so. But the Niners were upset last week by non-playoff club Minnesota. Now San Francisco has to fly cross country for an early-starting game to face the Jets.
The Jets probably don’t deserve to be 2-1, but they are. Last week, New York won 23-20 on a Nick Folk 33-yard field goal in overtime. Mark Sanchez completed 21-of-45 passes for 306 yards with a touchdown and a pair of interceptions for the Jets, while Santonio Holmes finished with nine catches for 147 yards.
This season, Sanchez is dead-last in completion percentage (50.5) among starters, meaning rookies Robert Griffin III (67.4), Russell Wilson (57.3), Brandon Weeden (56.5) Andrew Luck (53.3) and Ryan Tannehill (52.9) have fared better. After converting 10 of 14 third downs (71.4 percent) in Week 1, the Jets were 10-for-29 (34.5 percent) against Pittsburgh (4 of 12) and Miami (6 of 17). But for all his struggles the past two games, Sanchez came through when it counted against the Dolphins, hitting Holmes for a 38-yard completion in overtime to set up Folk’s winning field goal.
The Jets suffered a devastating blow vs. Revis, who returned to action Sunday after missing Week 2 with a concussion, was injured late in the third quarter. He wasn’t touched on the play. 2010 first-round pick Kyle Wilson, the nickelback, will replace Revis in the starting lineup. Beyond Wilson and fellow starter Antonio Cromartie, the Jets are thin at cornerback. Ellis Lankster moves into the No. 3 role — for now.
But it will be almost impossible to replace Revis, a three-time All-Pro selection. He routinely covers the opponents’ No. 1 wide receiver, often shutting him down and allowing the coaches to employ aggressive blitzing schemes. Revis is so good that he allowed only one touchdown pass in 2011.
San Francisco fell 24-13 at the Vikings in the upset of Week 3. Alex Smith completed 24-of-35 passes for 204 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the 49ers (2-1), who were aiming for their first 3-0 start since 1998. Vernon Davis had five catches for 53 yards and a score in the setback and Frank Gore rushed for 63 yards with a fumble on 12 carries. Smith threw his first interception since Week 12 of last season, while Gore fumbled for the first time since Week 5 of last year.
San Francisco has been excellent rushing the football. It ranks fifth in the league at 141 yards per game. Its physical offensive line is getting movement at the line of scrimmage. The Jets yield an average of 149 yards per game on the ground and were manhandled by the Dolphins in Week 3. Look for Jim Harbaugh’s offensive mindset to be controlling the clock on the road with a good dose of Gore between the tackles.
These two teams haven’t faced off since December 2008.
WAGERWEB.COM ODDS: 49ers -4 (40.5)
49ERS NOTES: QB Alex Smith ranks 3rd in NFL with 69.6 comp. pct. (64 of 92) & has 102.7 rating. In career, SF is 12-0 when Smith starts & has 100+ rating. Has won 16 of past 20 starts … 49ers have won 7 in row when RB Frank Gore rushes for 100+ yards. Since 2006, Gore has 7,281 rush yards, 2nd most in NFL. Has rush TD in 5 of past 7 … Incl. playoffs, TE Vernon Davis has 8 TDs in past 5 & aims for 6th in row with TD. Since Jan. 1, Davis leads all NFL players with 8 rec. TDs. Since 2009, leads NFL TEs with 30 TDs. WR Randy Moss has 14,946 career rec. yards & moved into 4th all-time last week. Aims for 4th in row vs. NYJ with TD. WR Michael Crabtree aims for 11th in row with 4+ catches. In past 10, has 60 receptions (6 per game). WR Mario Manningham had 5 catches for 56 yards last week, his most as 49er … OT Joe Staley had FR-TD in last meeting … DT Justin Smith had sack in last meeting. Has started 174 games in row, 3rd longest active streak by defensive player. LB Aldon Smith has 16.5 sacks in past 16. LB NA VORRO BOWMAN led club with 18 tackles last week,
JETS NOTES: QB Mark Sanchez (9,919) needs 81 passing yards to reach 10,000 career. For career, Sanchez is 9-3 (.750) in Sept. & has 21 TDs vs. 9 INTs & 89.6 passer rating. Club has 8-2 record when Sanchez has 100+ passer rating … RB Shonn Greene has 5 rush TDs in past 8 vs. NFC. Club is 4-0 when Greene has 100+ rush yards … WR Santonio Holmes tied career-best with 9 catches last week & posted 10th career game with 100+ receiving yards (147). For career, Holmes averages 17.5 yards per catch vs. NFC (80 rec., 1,399 yards). Tied for AFC-best with 7 3rd-down catches (Dwayne Bowe, 7; Mike Wallace, 7). Rookie WR Stephen Hill had 5 catches for 89 yards (17.8 avg.) with 2 TD catches in only game at home. WR Jeremy Kerley is averaging 23.1 yards per catch in ’12 (8 receptions, 185 yards)…S LA RON LANDRY posted 1st INT as Jet last week … LB David Harris leads team with 26 tackles … DE Muhammad Wilkerson has 2 sacks in past 2 games vs. NFC opponents.
WAGERWEB.COM TRENDS: 49ers are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games in September. 49ers are 14-4-3 ATS in their last 21 games following a ATS loss. 49ers are 16-5-1 ATS in their last 22 games overall. 49ers are 18-6-2 ATS in their last 26 games following a S.U. loss. Jets are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games in September. Jets are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 home games vs. a team with a winning road record. Over is 5-1 in Jets last 6 home games.
SBA likes the Jets at home getting the points. Seems like a solid play here.