Two teams prepare for next year a little early as Chip Kelly’s San Francisco 49ers play host to the New York Jets. New York enters the game on a four game losing streak, the latest being the 41-10 debacle at the hands of the Colts on Monday Night Football. That game could have been 81-10, and with the record at 3-9, it led to Todd Bowles making a change at starting quarterback.
Bryce Petty takes over the team and will remain in place for the rest of the season, barring injury. Ryan Fitzpatrick will be his backup and Christian Hackenberg may dress by the end of the season, but won’t play.
The 49ers have had it even worse, sitting with a record of 1-11, and the losses all coming in a row. The latest was a 26-6 loss to the Bears, which ending up sending Colin Kaepernick to the bench. Though he only went 1-of-5 for four yards last week, the team has announced that Kaepernick will make the start against the Jets on Sunday. They, like New York, are simply looking for a win to get some momentum heading into the off-season. It’s safe to say that this is not what head coach Chip Kelly had in mind.
Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for each team.
New York needs to allow Bryce Petty to play, but he must play within himself. He wasn’t allowed to throw much when he started against the Rams and it showed. But he also can’t try and do too much. When he overthinks, like he did against the Colts, he makes bad reads and overthrows. Petty has talent, and for the Jets to have a chance to win, he must relax and let that talent come forward.
Matt Forte has posted 52 rushing yards over the last two weeks. The 49ers are ranked last in the league against the run. Need I say more? New York has to establish the run in order to win this game. The 49ers are susceptible to it, and nothing helps a young quarterback feel comfortable like a solid running attack. They must control the line of scrimmage.
This is a week for Chip Kelly’s offense to really show its potential. New York’s defense on Monday night played like it gave up. For the 49ers to win, they must attack the defense, and keep doing it until they don’t get up. The output on the field has been that of a group that can be taken out of the game emotionally. When that happens in the NFL, it’s over. The 49ers can do that to their opponents on Sunday and, simply, they must.
This is a tough spot for New York. They historically play badly when they fly across the country. The last time they won on a cross-country trip was January of 2010. Add a quarterback that is making is second career start, and I don’t see the guys from the Big Apple coming away with a win.