49ers vs. Jets: Matchups to Watch

By Phil
Bruce Kluckhohn-US PRESSWIRE


The San Francisco 49ers will try to rebound against the 2-1 New York Jets after a rather disappointing loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

It was shocking, pathetic and reminiscent of the old 49ers team fans have come to forget.

We saw turnovers, bad play calling and subpar production from the offense, defense and–surprisingly–the special teams.

The Jets, on the other hand, received terrible news as it was confirmed star cornerback Darelle Revis tore his ACL, which will require season-ending surgery–as if the Jets needed any more headlines.

However, these two teams are still competitive and boast rambunctious head coaches.

Minus Revis, this is still a solid Jets defense. The same goes for the 49ers, even though they let Christian Ponder look like Steve Young last week.

The headlines will be on what happened last week, but the focus should be on the tantalizing matchups we’ll see this Sunday.

1) Aldon Smith vs. D’Brickashaw Ferguson

Justin Smith usually lines up over the guard, and with the Jets’ pathetic offense, expect the 49ers to line up more in their 3-4 base defense.

What this means: Against the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers, the Niners played a lot of nickel coverage, where Aldon Smith was lining up as a defensive end.

With the Jets’ offense, expect the 49ers to play in their more traditional 3-4 base package. This means Smith will line up more against Ferguson.

The Jets have had protection issues, especially on the right side of their line. If the Jets want to protect Mark Sanchez, Ferguson must hold his own against Smith.

2) Michael Crabtree vs. Antonio Cromartie

Crabtree has had a solid start to the season, becoming Alex Smith’s favorite receiver target outside of Vernon Davis. Even more encouraging is that Crabtree has been extremely dependable in third-down situations.

With Revis out, Cromartie will likely matchup with Crabtree on most plays. I expect to see Cromartie used everywhere, including matchups involving Randy Moss.

Cromartie is still a solid corner, but he will have some trouble with this 49ers offense, especially if Jim Harbaugh dials up the running game early.

The 49ers love to use the play action pass and history has revealed Cromartie to be a reckless gambler at times.

3) Shonn Green vs. 49ers defensive line

The Jets’ rushing attack has been awful in the first three games of the season. Green is averaging a measly 2.8 yards per carry. Don’t expect the Jets’ rushing game to materialize this week as they face a stout 49ers front seven.

The 49ers specialize at stopping the run and will look to make the Jets one-dimensional.

Who are we kidding, though? The Jets will naturally make themselves one-dimensional. Their offense is just that pathetic.

However, sticking to the run may be the best option for the Jets. The key to slowing this 49ers defense down is keeping them honest. If they force you to go away from the run, it makes your offense become too predictable.

The 49ers thrive on forcing turnovers as well, so slinging it 40+ times will only benefit their secondary.

As the Vikings and Lions showed, if you stick with the run, good things will happen. The Lions ran the ball 26 times and kept the game close despite the loss in Week 2.

In the Vikings win, they ran the ball 41 times.

The Packers? They ran the ball 14 times, and five of those attempts came from Aaron Rodgers. Though the score was close, the 49ers only gave up two offensive touchdowns in their victory.

Despite the number of attempts, the Vikings and Lions were both inefficient, but it didn’t matter. The goal was to keep the 49ers honest.

The Jets must do the same.

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