(KPIX) — The San Francisco 49ers, fresh off their Super Bowl appearance, will try to avoid an 0-2 start in New York this Sunday. The 49ers let a fourth-quarter lead slip away to the Cardinals at home in Week 1. They face the Jets in New York, who will be looking to get in the win column as well after an ugly loss to Buffalo Bills. Both teams face a mounting injury count.
The Niners will be without cornerback Richard Sherman, who will be out at least three weeks with a calf injury. He joins wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who will miss at least two more games while healing from a broken foot. Tight end George Kittle is dealing with a knee sprain and is uncertain for Week 2. Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, who missed Week 1 with a hamstring injury, could return, however.
The 49ers also recently signed free agent Mohamed Sanu Sr. to help shore up its depleted wide receiver corps. How effective he can be on this short notice is an open question. The ongoing wildfire situation on the west coast and the resulting air quality issues certainly aren’t helping either.
The Jets, who already can’t match the 49ers in talent, are just as banged up. “[The Jets] are making a strong case [for being the worst team in the NFL],” says SportsLine senior NFL analyst Larry Hartstein. “The injuries… Le’Veon Bell already out (hamstring). Denzel Mims, one of the rookie wide receivers, he’s out (hamstring). And Jamison Crowder, basically their entire offense — seven catches, 115 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 — he did not practice on Thursday due to a hamstring injury. So you have to watch his status.”
That doesn’t leave a lot of options for Sam Darnold, who struggled in Week 1. Darnold completed 21-35 passes against the Bills for 215 yards. He also had a touchdown and an interception. The numbers were actually worse if you subtract out the final drive that included eight receptions for 58 yards. The running game was also anemic, with Bell and Frank Gore combining for 38 yards on 12 carries.
But there is a glimmer of hope in all the gloom. According to Hartstein, “if there was ever a time for the Jets to show up and be competitive, it’s in Week 2 against the 49ers, who are just as banged up if not more. George Kittle did not practice all week for the 49ers. They’re totally depleted at wide receiver. And the Jets are good at stopping the run, which is what the Niners love to do. This is the spot where the Jets should show up and be competitive.”
So how does all this injury news shake out in terms of the betting numbers?
“The Jets couldn’t have looked worse in Week 1,” says Hartstein. “And they actually only lost by 10. But teams that lose by double-digits in Week 1, because there’s such an overreaction, actually cover the spread 63 percent of the time in Week 2. So there’s value on the Jets because of how bad they looked in Week 1.”
The 49ers are currently favored by seven points over the Jets.
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