49ers vs. Jets Odds
The San Francisco 49ers are traveling across the country to take on the New York Jets in a cross-conference matchup. Both teams are coming off Week 1 losses in which their offenses struggled to get off on the right foot.
Heading into this one, each team is also struggling with injuries, and this may change how the clubs approach Week 2, possibly going with more conservative game plans.
With that in mind, this may be a low-scoring affair with San Fran controlling the pace if it’s content to run. The reigning NFC champions sit as 7-point favorites with a total of 41.5. Let’s see how these two teams stack up.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have a handful of notable names on the injury report this week.
George Kittle is out with a knee sprain, which he suffered in the first half of the Week 1 loss, and they’ll still be without Deebo Samuel. It’s not a coincidence that the Niners offense took a turn for the worst when Kittle became nothing more than a decoy last Sunday, allowing the Cardinals to take control of the game in the second half.
With injuries to the pass catchers as well as not having the reliable Emmanuel Sanders this season, the Niners passing game will continue having issues for the time being.
Expect Kyle Shanahan to lean on his running game in this one against a Jets team with a sturdy defense but an anemic offense. The Niners ran for nearly 5 yards per carry in Week 1, and I expect them to be deliberate in trying to attack that part of what could be a worn-down Jets defense due to a lengthy stay on the field in the opening game and lack of conditioning in training camp.
On the defensive end, the 49ers are going to live in the Jets backfield. The team ranked second in the NFL in pressure rate last season, according to Pro Football Reference, and pressured Kyler Murray on a quarter of his dropbacks in Week 1. The numbers are a bit inflated for some teams but that was right around the 2019 average for Robert Saleh’s crew.
San Francisco will be down corner Richard Sherman, who was placed on the short-term Injured Reserve with a calf injury. The Niners secondary should still be in good shape with the Jets lacking weapons, but it is something to note for this one.
New York Jets
The story heading into this game will be the weapons that Sam Darnold does not have on the field.
Le’Veon Bell will be out at least three weeks with a hamstring injury while Jamison Crowder, who caught a 69-yard touchdown pass last Sunday, was ruled out late in the week with a hamstring issue. The Jets will also be without Denzel Mims, who has yet to log a snap because of — you guessed it — a hamstring injury.
Down his starting running back and favorite target, Darnold may be in for a long afternoon against an elite 49ers pass rush that should be able to generate pressure.
After acquiring much of their offensive line in the offseason, the Jets are still working on putting this unit together. An abbreviated camp did this unit no favors, and the Niners are not the right team for a group trying to build some chemistry.
New York is going to lean on its defense to put the offense in advantageous situations. Jimmy Garoppolo is not going to have his full arsenal of receivers, and the Jets were able to generate a pass rush last season and in Week 1 against Josh Allen despite being on the field for 70% of the game. There may be some carryover from so much field time last week, but this Jets defense can keep this game within striking distance, although the offense may not be able to pounce on the opportunity.
Gang Green did not have a run of loner than 10 yards last week, and will be counting on veteran Frank Gore to shoulder the load and establish the run.
Expect many of the Jets’ offensive drives to stall out quickly.
There has to be a little bit of urgency from the Niners coming to MetLife Stadium — in what appears to be the most competitive division in football, San Francisco is already a game behind each team. However, with the injuries to the skill players, I can’t lay the points with the Niners in this spot.
Instead, I’m going to look to the total.
Bettors hammered the opener of 43.5 down to 41.5, but I see value in this one all the way down to 41, so there’s still some room to get in as I have this game projected for 40 points.
While the 49ers have big-play potential in the backfield, the Jets should be able to stick to their bend-not-break defense while their offense stalls out against the elite 49ers front seven. New York’s defense ranked second in Week 1 stuff rate — the percentage of tackles on the opposing running back in the backfield –per Football Outsiders.
Both teams are banged up, and the Jets seem to be one of the most doomed teams in football this season with a lame duck coach in Adam Gase. On the other sideline, Shanahan knows his team and that the Niners aren’t where they want to be just yet, with injuries a part of the issue. I think that he keeps it pretty vanilla and plays to get out of this week with a win, and in a low-scoring battle at that.
If the total trickles under 41, I would instead recommend the Jets’ team total at anything under 17.5 — I can’t see them putting together enough drives to put points on the board.
PICK: Under 41.5 (down to 41)