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One reason the 49ers will beat the Jets (and one reason why they won’t)

We move onto San Francisco’s second opponent of the regular season

New York Jets v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The early-season schedule for the San Francisco 49ers is favorable. 90% of fans believe the Niners will beat the Cardinals in Week 1. The next opponent on the schedule is the New York Jets. San Francisco will travel across the country to play an underrated defense. This same defense lost Jamal Adams and linebacker C.J. Mosely elected to opt-out. We’ll also get to see Frank Gore, who will spell Le’Veon Bell when he needs a breather.

Reason for: Sam Darnold

If Kyler Murray holds onto the ball too long and takes sacks, Darnold does the same, but that leads to turnovers. During Monday Night Football last October, Darnold was caught by ESPN’s mic saying “he’s feeling ghosts,” referencing the Patriots’ pressure. The first half of the 2019 season for Darnold was a disaster. The Jets’ passing offense was the worst in the NFL by -36%, according to DVOA. They improved during the second half, hovering right around average, but banking on that to carry over is a stretch.

Which offenses hurt the 49ers last year? The ones with playmakers. The Jets do have Bell, but the 49ers were tops in the NFL against running backs in the passing game last year. New York will rely on Breshad Perriman, Denzel Mims, and Jamison Crowder. So, a player who flourished down the stretch of last season when games were meaningless, a rookie, and a limited slot receiver. Those names aren’t going to keep Robert Saleh up and night.

Like Murray, Darnold will forgo the open underneath pass in an attempt to hit the home run. When Darnold makes one mistake, he makes multiple mistakes. That does not bode well against a defense that smells blood in the water. The Jets will have two new starters along the offensive line. They’ve finished in the bottom three in Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards in the past three seasons. New York’s offensive line gave up the most pressure by percentage and was third-worst against in adjusted sack rate.

Good luck, Sammy.

Reason against: Gregg Williams and his blitzes

As a person, I think we all feel the same away about Williams. He’s scum. Am I allowed to say that? Well, he is, and we should never forget or forgive him, and whoever else was involved with the Saints during BountyGate. That’s wasn’t the first or the last time Williams was associated with dirty play.

On the field, Williams finds a way to get results. That’s usually due to his exotic blitzes. The Jets blitzed a defensive back 16% of the time last year, which was third in the NFL. New York was also fourth in second-level sacks last year. The Jets lack a true edge-rushing threat, but that doesn’t stop them from getting pressure. New York rushed five or more rushers 30% of the time, which was the seventh-most in the league. When you don’t know where the defense is coming from, it can lead to sacks, and sometimes turnovers.

I don’t think the Jets have much of a chance, but I also believe their defense could give the 49ers offense potential problems. What does Kyle Shanahan want to do? Run the ball. The Jets had the second-best run defense per DVOA last year. Their 37% success rate against the run was tops in the league. New York is going to make you beat them with throws outside of the hashes. Jimmy Garoppolo and the receivers will have to make plays in this one. Something tells me the Jets offense will put them in a position to do so.


Will the 49ers beat the Jets

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