By Peter Schwartz
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The Jets will begin life without Darrelle Revis on Sunday when they face the 49ers at MetLife Stadium. With Revis done for the season with a torn left ACL, 2010 first-round draft pick Kyle Wilson will step up into a starting role.
As he attempts to fill the shoes — some of them, at least — left behind by the best corner in the world, Wilson doesn’t seem to be feeling the pressure.
“No,” said the former Boise State star. “I just feel like I’m going (to go) out there and I’m going to continue to do my job. Go out there, make plays and have fun. Just play my game, that’s all I can do. I just have to continue to do my job, go out there, have fun and make plays.”
The Jets can’t spend too much time lamenting the loss of Revis, especially with the 49ers coming to the Meadowlands. Even if the Pro Bowl corner was available, Sunday’s contest with San Francisco would be a great challenge.
It’s now a challenge that head coach Rex Ryan’s team will accept, but they might need a little help from their 12th man.
“I think going against San Francisco, I’m glad we’re playing at home, because I think we’re going to need our fans,” said Ryan. “Hopefully, that will be a big edge for us, to have home field advantage, get our fans behind us. I think that will give us a big boost because, quite honestly, this football team (the 49ers) right here, is loaded.”
The fans can make all the noise that they want, but they won’t be able to help the Jets with the physical nature of the 49ers, especially their defense. Led by linebacker Patrick Willis, San Francisco will bring a nasty group into MetLife Stadium, a unit that will also be unhappy after their loss to the Vikings last week.
“This is one of the toughest teams we’ll play all year, defensively, offensively, special teams-wise,” said quarterback Mark Sanchez. “They are, in all three phases one of the best teams. They’re sharp. They know their assignments. It’s clear they play with a purpose.”
The Jets defense will certainly have their hands full with a 49ers offense that doesn’t turn the ball over. San Francisco is solid on the ground and head coach Jim Harbaugh has turned Alex Smith into a more than serviceable NFL quarterback.
All in all, it won’t be a walk in the park for Gang Green.
“They have a great running attack with Frank Gore,” said cornerback Antonio Cromartie. “They throw the ball down the field. Most people call it conservative, but for them it’s really not conservative. They stay safe with the football. Smith threw his first interception last week, his first interception in 250-something attempts. He’s doing a great job of taking care of the football and he would rather take a sack than throw an interception.”
One thing is for certain. Alex Smith won’t have to worry about Randy Moss or Michael Crabtree being defended by Darrelle Revis. The Jets will certainly miss their on-field and off-the-field leader for the rest of the 2012 season, but how they pull together both on the field and mentally will determine how the cards will fall come January.
“Our team, we can do anything we put or minds to,” said Wilson. “I like the team we have. We have good chemistry and everybody is looking to do something to help out.”
If they can’t pull things together, the Jets will find themselves on “Eliminated From The Playoffs Island” a lot sooner than they thought.
JETS-49ERS ALL-TIME SERIES
The 49ers lead the all-time series against the Jets 9-2. The last meeting was 24-14 49ers win in 2008 at Candlestick Park. San Francisco has won 6 of the last 7 games.
This will be the first meeting between these two teams at MetLife Stadium. The last time that the Jets hosted the 49ers was a 22-14 victory in 2004 at Giants Stadium. The Jets are 1-5 all-time at home against San Francisco.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
After their loss in Minnesota, the 49ers spent this week in Ohio practicing at Youngstown State instead of going back home to San Francisco. Head coach Jim Harbaugh came up with a list of pros in cons.
“The biggest ones are playing back-to-back east coast games and taking out eight hours of travel time,” said Harbaugh. “ In fact there are a lot of things. What are the risks? What are the rewards? The rewards to us, outweighed the risks.”
While the 49ers offense will be able to take their shots at a Jets defense that doesn’t have Darrelle Revis, the San Francisco defense also has to feel confident about what kind of success they can have against the Gang Green offense.
But they are not taking anything for granted.
“On the Jets offensive line, they have some stout guys up front,” said 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis. “They run the ball really well, you know, Greene and Powell, two good running backs, so it’s going to be a good match out there. They have a pretty solid football team and we just have to be ready to play.”
There are some 49ers-Jets connections….
49ers center Jonathan Goodwin was the Jets round pick in the NFL draft. He spent four seasons with Gang Green before moving on to a five year stay with the Saints. He was a member of the Saints Super Bowl XLIV Championship team. The 11-year veteran joined the 49ers last season. Goodwin has started 56 straight games, tied for fifth-most among active centers.
49ers Secondary Coach Ed Donatell is in his 22nd NFL season. He made his NFL coaching debut with the Jets as secondary coach from 1990-1994.
Jets center Nick Mangold and wide receiver Santonio Holmes were teammates with 49ers safety Donte Whitner at Ohio State from 2003-05. Mangold and Holmes also played with 49ers wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. at Ohio State from 2004-05.
Jets quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh served the same position with the 49ers in 1996 when he tutored Steve Young.
Since the 49ers (NFC) are the visiting team, Sunday’s game will be broadcast by FOX. Kenny Albert will handle the play by play with Daryl Johnston on color and Florham Park’s own Tony Siragusa on the sideline.
Jets linebacker Calvin Pace is no stranger to facing the 49ers. Pace played four seasons for the Arizona Cardinals before coming over to Gang Green in 2008. In 10 career games against San Francisco, including one with the Jets in 2008, Pace has 35 total tackles and five sacks.
The Jets secondary has been responsible for all six of the takeaways this season. The defensive backs have produced four interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
The Jets will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Day on Sunday. There will be a variety of cultural entertainment, performances and activities. Singer and WWE personality Lilian Garcia will perform the National Anthem before the game and a concert at halftime.
JETS RING OF HONOR
Defensive end Mark Gastineau and wide receiver Wesley Walker make up the 2012 Jets Ring of Honor class. The former Jets greats will be honored at halftime of the Jets-Dolphins game on October 28 at MetLife Stadium.
Gastineau set what was then an NFL record with 22 sacks in 1984. No. 99 registered 107.5 career sacks, which is a franchise record. Walker spent all 13 of his NFL seasons with the Jets and had 438 catches for 8,306 yards and 71 touchdowns.
My record this season: 2-1 — although I’m not proud of getting credit for a win this past week.
This is a tough spot for the Jets. Winning with Revis would have been hard, so this seems to be downright impossible: 49ers 34, Jets 10.
That’s all for now! Enjoy the game and check back on Monday for a recap!
What’s your prediction for Jets-Niners? Be heard in the comments below!