The always-interesting New York Jets are 2-1 despite a myriad of early-season issues and controversies, including season-ending injuries and the ever-present soap opera at quarterback starring Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow. Now they get their toughest-test of the young season when the San Francisco 49ers come to town Sunday.
The major news from New York this week was the revelation All-Pro cornerback Darrel Revis tore his ACL in the Jets 24-21 overtime win against the Miami Dolphins and will miss the remainder of the year. The Jets’ are a respectable 11th in pass defense after three weeks, but the loss of “Revis Island” on the outside could alter those numbers dramatically going forward. Especially when you consider the Jets have failed to put consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks and have registered just three sacks on the season.
To show the level of concern at cornerback for the Jets, running back Joe McKnight has been converted to the position to help fill the void left by Revis. Head coach Rex Ryan said this week that McKnight, who last played cornerback in high school, will have roles with both the offense and defense against the 49ers.
This one could come down to the Jets ability to stop the 49ers rushing attack. Led by running back Frank Gore, San Francisco is averaging 141 yards a game on the ground to rank fifth in the NFL. By contrast, the Jets front-seven is surrendering 148.7 yards a game on the ground, which is the fifth-worse in the league.
If the 49ers can grind it out on the ground, as the statistics would indicate, the Jets could be in for a long day.
With all the storylines swirling around the Jets it’s easy to overlook the fact they are 2-1 and in first place in the AFC East. The 49ers mark the start of a brutal part of the schedule for the Jets, however, and a loss here could be the beginning of a downward spiral. The NFL odds has New York listed as a 4.5-point home underdog against a team that plays tough defense and features a ball-control offense. Those types of teams rarely blow teams out and that could leave the door ajar for the Jets to stay within the 4.5 points