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The Redzone: The 49ers can cool the Jets

With both teams unexpectedly 2-1, but for very different reasons, there’s a lot on the line in New York this weekend.

The loss of Darelle Revis for the reason could really hurt the Jets' playoff hopes.
The loss of Darelle Revis for the reason could really hurt the Jets' playoff hopes.
Image: Wise/AP/Press Association Images

FOOTBALL, FOOTBALL, FOOTBALL. It’s great to be actually writing about the sport again and not the circus that’s surrounded the replacement referees for the last three weeks.

I think it was famed NFL fantasy football aficionado Joe Bryant who said of American football, “it’s an oblong ball made of leather. Weird stuff is gonna happen,” and that’s certainly been true during this season’s opening salvoes.

For a start, nobody envisaged the Cardinals would reach 3-0 and very few imagined the Saints would have lost all three games to date, especially considering their opponents.

There are other surprises too. The Texans have been even better than billed, while the Bills could go to 3-1 (and send their opponents to 1-3) with a win over the Patriots this Sunday.

And then there’s the Jets.

San Francisco 49ers @ New York Jets
Last Sunday’s Jets/Dolphins encounter was one of those games that provided more questions than answers. Questions such as “why am I watching this?”

It was awful and yet the Jets managed to escape from Florida with the win and the title of most confusing team of the 2012 season.

They were brilliant against the Bills on the opening day, terrible against the Steelers and, despite the win, below par against a Dolphin’s outfit seemingly intent on losing Sunday’s game.

Yet they top the AFC East and have every reason to think they are that division’s best overall team. Or at least they would if Darelle Revis wasn’t done for the season.

The 49ers, meanwhile, fully expected to be 3-0 at this stage but a combination of complacency and a great Minnesota gameplan sees them sitting third in the NFC West, a division they were expected to dominate.

Luckily, they face a Jets defence that have shown no ability to stop the run so Frank Gore and the other 49ers backs could have a field day which will open up the secondary for Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis.

Verdict: 49ers by 7+

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New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles
There’s a temptation to become obsessed with offences when writing about football, but this game is worth watching because it contains two of the best defensive lines in the National Football League.

The Giants have an uncanny knack of being able to unsettle the passer and few quarterbacks have taken as many hits as Michael Vick has in his career so this could turn into a fumble-fest for the Eagles.

That said, when the Eagles click, they can be devastating. If LeSean McCoy can open up the run game and allow Philadelphia time to develop the pass, particularly on play-action, this game could turn into another one of those shootouts the Giants, in particular, seem to love.

Verdict: Giants by 6

Chicago Bears @ Dallas Cowboys
Like the Jets, it’s difficult to know what to expect from either the Bears or Cowboys. At their best, Jay Cutler and Tony Romo are two of the league’s best quarterbacks. At their worst, you wouldn’t trust them to throw a party.

The Bears offensive line is unable to consistently protect Jay Cutler. When they do, he has the ability to find destroy defences but with both Matt Forte and Michael Bush carrying knocks into Monday, there could be virtually no Chicago run game. Without rushing yards, it will be difficult to continually keep Culter on his feet throughout the game.

The Cowboys, who have only reached the playoffs four times since the turn of the millennium, looked world beaters in the season’s opening game but have subsequently lost to the Seahawks and scrapped past the Bucs.

However, with home advantage so important in the NFL (32-17), the Cowboys should have enough.

Verdict: Cowboys by 3+

All fixtures:
Cleveland Browns 16 @ Baltimore Ravens 23
Carolina Panthers @ Atlanta Falcons – Falcons
New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills – Patriots
Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions – Lions
Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans – Texans
San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs – Chiefs
Seattle Seahawks @ St. Louis Rams – Seahawks
Miami Dolphins @ Arizona Cardinals – Cardinals
Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos – Raiders
Cincinnati Bengals @ Jacksonville Jaguars – Jaguars
New Orleans Saints @ Green Bay Packers – Packers
Washington Redskins @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Redskins

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About the author:

Steven O'Rourke

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