The NFL begins Week Four of the 2020 season in New York, as the Jets host the Broncos.
Both teams off to 0-3 starts
The Jets started 0-3 for the ninth time in 2020, while Denver did so for just the fourth time (since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970). Both teams started 0-4 in 2019.
Not many. Both teams possess pitiful offenses. The Jets rank 32, and 30 in points scored and yards, while the Broncos rank 30th in points and 29th in yards.
The Jets -325 yard differential is the worst in the NFL, as is their -7 TD differential. Sam Darnold and Jeff Driskel both rank 31st among QB in Pro Football Focus with a 54.4 rating.
The Broncos failure to protect Driskel could cost them if the Jets can generate a consistent pass rush. Driskel’s 78 dropbacks generated 11 sacks for the opposition, while the Broncos rank fifth-worst in the NFL in QB pressure (31 percent of dropbacks).
Judging both teams through three games, look for this game to be decided on a turnover. I predict the Jets will force Driskel into a mistake, providing the deciding score.
Jets 17 Broncos 13
The only previous time the Jets and Broncos played on Thursday night, Tim Tebow ran for the game-winning score with 58 seconds remaining. Denver started on their five-yard line and went 95 yards in 12 plays culminating in Tebow’s 20-yard TD run.
Overall, Denver holds a 20-16-1 lead in the series. The Jets won the last meeting 34-16 at the Meadowlands in 2018. Sam Darnold threw for 3 TD in the victory.
Another disastrous season appears on the horizon for Gang Green, while San Francisco receives a gift from the NFL schedule.
Strengths vs. Weakness
Last week the Jets made Josh Allen look like Barry Allen, as their defense could not contain the third-year QB. New York finished last in Week 1 in opponent time of possession, allowing Buffalo 41:17. New York allowed 98 rushing yards, but 57 came from Allen on 14 attempts (allowed just 41 yards on 18 attempts from conventional running plays).
Both teams should pass the ball much better against each other than their week one opponents. However, the Jets offense does not feature a playmaker such as DeAndre Hopkins, responsible for 56 percent of the receptions and 66 percent of receiving yards against San Francisco.
The 49ers’ weakness against Arizona saw Kyler Murray run past their defense for 91 yards. San Francisco won’t fear the same from the Jets, as Sam Darnold legs rarely earn rushing yards (206 rushing yards in 27 career starts). Without worrying about LeVeon Bell or Jamison Crowder, Nick Bosa should find plenty of chances to impact the game.
On defense, the Jets allowed the Bills to complete 55 percent of their passing plays (10th worst in week one), but no plays 30 yards or more. That allows Jimmy Garoppolo to find receivers underneath coverage. Despite missing both Deebo Samuel and George Kittle to injuries, Jarick McKinnon and Raheem Mostert provided the Niners two big passing plays against Arizona. Brandon Aiyuk makes his NFL debut and should receive multiple opportunities to make it a memorable one.
The Jets are 1-6 all-time against the 49ers at home. Their only victory was in 2004 with Tim Rattay behind center for San Francisco. Overall, the Jets are 3-10 against the Niners but did prevail in their last matchup 23-17 at Levi’s Stadium (12/11/2016).
The Niners’ issues of closing out games haunted them in their Super Bowl loss and Week One. However, Sam Darnold does not possess the weapons and consistency to apply the same result. Look for San Francisco to dominate TOP with consistent high-percentage passes and provide some playing time for their backups late in this fourth quarter.
Final Score: 49ers 27 Jets 13
The last time?
-The Jets played the San Francisco at home, the Jets starting RB on Sunday, Frank Gore, led the Niners with 62 of their 247 rushing yards in a 34-0 win. The 49ers outgained the Jets by 236 yards (381-145).
-The Jets hosted the Niners in their home-opener was 1992. Steve Young threw two TD and ran for another as the Niners opened a 31-0 lead before allowing two Ken O’Brien passing TD in garbage time.
Ken O’Brien’s two late TDs in the 49ers 31-14 victory in Week three of 1992 are the only TD passes for Jets QBs in their last five games hosting San Francisco (163 pass attempts).