By Abe Gutierrez
A pair of organizations in disarray will collide in Week 14 when the (3-9) New York Jets travel to California looking to strike gold versus the San Francisco 49ers. Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara will be the site for this interconference clash. Opening kickoff is slated for Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET and it will be broadcast live on CBS.
San Francisco comes in leading the overall series 10-2-0 over the New York Jets, which means that Sunday’s game will be only the 13th time these clubs have met on the gridiron. The last time they met dates back to the 2012 NFL season, when Gang Green was blanked at home 34-0 by the Niners.
New York’s loss in 2012 marked the second straight defeat at the hands of the Niners, who come into Week 14 winners of seven of their last eight meetings with the Jets. In Chip Kelly versus Todd Bowles, pro football fans will get a chance to see a pair of head coaches on the hot seat, and each is desperate for a win against a beatable foe.
San Francisco 49ers Record: 1-11-0
After winning the season opener against the Los Angeles Rams, the 49ers have dropped 11 consecutive ballgames. Thus, San Francisco is 1-5 at home, 0-6 on the road and 1-3 against NFC West foes. In addition, this year’s Niners are also 1-8 against the NFC, 0-3 against the AFC and are 0-5 in their last five games played.
Niners on offense
Offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins is in charge of a unit that ranks fourth in rushing yards (127.7), 25th in points per game (19.5), 30th in total yards averaged (309.8) and penultimate in the NFL in passing yards per contest (182.2). Much like the Jets, the 49ers have more questions than answers when it comes to the quarterback position.
Last week against the Chicago Bears, controversial signal-caller Colin Kaepernick made history with another atrocious performance. Becoming only the second player since 1970 to have more sacks in a game than yards, the sixth-year man out of Nevada was sacked five times and passed for a miserable four yards while completing just one of his five pass attempts.
Naturally, Kelly chose to bench Kaepernick for back-up quarterback Blaine Gabbert, but the move yielded very little. The former Jaguar went 4-for-10 for 35 yards, no scores and no interceptions, as the Niners got pounded by a sub-par Bears squad, 26-6.
Nevertheless, it was announced on Tuesday that the Niners would stick with Kaepernick for Sunday’s game against the Jets. According to Modkins, this unit has been playing “good football on offense and the thing had been trending in the right direction” heading into last week’s debacle in the Windy City.
Niners on defense
Defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil runs a defensive unit that enters Week 14 ranked 14th in passing yards per game (246.9), and dead last in the remaining three categories: Points per game (30.8), total yards per game (416.2) and rushing yards per game (169.3).
Going up against the Niners’ anemic defense might be exactly what the doctor ordered for Todd Bowles—it may even take a little bit of heat off his seat. The fact that the Niners have allowed no less than 23 points and as many as 46 during their 11-game skid has to be an encouraging sign for Jets fans.
Niners players to watch: Carlos Hyde, Ahmad Brooks
When it comes to offense, there’s no question as to what the Niners’ gameplan is week-in and week-out: Pound the rock. Thus, San Francisco’s player to watch is running back Carlos Hyde, who leads the team in rushing yards and touchdowns.
Heading into Week 14, the third-year man out of Ohio State has tallied 686 yards on 174 carries and six touchdowns. Hyde has also registered 22 receptions on the year for 126 yards and an aerial score to his name.
On the opposite side of the rock, the Niners player to watch is none other than outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks. In his 11th season out of Virginia, the 32-year-old from Fairfax, Virginia leads the team with five sacks to go along with his 36 tackles (25 total, 11 assist).
Just how bad are the New York Jets with Bryce Petty under center? Consider the fact that NFL Week 14 oddsmakers have the Niners as betting favorites, despite not having won a game since Week 1. According to the latest point spreads, the San Francisco 49ers are listed as a -2½ betting favorites against a NY Jets team that will enjoy a +2½-point cushion in the ATS department. The OVER/UNDER is set at a combined total of 44½ points in this one.