Thu, 29 Oct 2020

Jets Set to Tackle 49ers in 2020 Home Opener at MetLife

New York Jets
21 Sep 2020, 18:56 GMT+10

Green & White Will Be Without Crowder & Bell; San Fran Is Minus Prolific TE George Kittle Randy Lange

It should be a mostly sunny and cool setting - great football weather - as the Jets kick off their 2020 home season at MetLife Stadium with the 61st home opener in franchise history and their 11th home opener at MLS.

Needless to say, this Jets home game will be different than any other since COVID-19 concerns will leave the East Rutherford bowl empty of fans while the Jets and 49ers go at it on the field, each trying to secure their first victory of the season after opening-day losses.

It will be interesting how Jets QB Sam Darnold responds to no fans in the stands, since he has shown in his third NFL season that he prefers his home field in the pros. He's 7-6 and on a four-game winning streak at MetLife compared to 4-10 on the road, and his offenses average almost a touchdown more per game home vs. away (21.2 offensive points vs. 14.6).

Darnold will be going up against QB Jimmy Garoppolo, who guided the Niners to last year's Super Bowl, where they loss to the Chiefs. But "Jimmy GQ," in his fourth season with San Fran and his second as the fulltime starter, had some fits and starts in last week's home opener, a 24-20 loss to second-year QB Kyler Murray and the Cardinals.

Both QBs today will be missing key offensive parts. For Darnold and the Jets, WR Jamison Crowder, who lit things up just a little at Buffalo last week with seven catches for 115 yards and a 69-yard TD burst, was bothered by a hamstring injury during the week and will be inactive. That could leave the Jets thin at WR with Breshad Perriman and Chris Hogan starting on the outside, Braxton Berrios moving into Crowder's slot position, and Josh Malone available at WR upon being elevated from the practice squad for the second straight game.

The Jets will also be without RB Le'Veon Bell, out also with a hamstring pull and on Injured Reserve for the short term. But there is optimism in seeing Frank Gore, 37 years young, making the 215th start of his 16-year career (including playoffs) and his first start as the newest member of the Green & White backfield. The Jets also have at RB rookie La'Mical Perine (ankle) set to make his NFL debut, recently signed Kalen Ballage ready to make his Jets debut, and Josh Adams again being available after being elevated from P-squad for the second time this year.

San Francisco, meanwhile, will be without TE George Kittle (knee), who has led the 49ers the past two seasons with a combined 173 catches, 2,430 yards and 10 TDs. On the other hand, the visitors and their fans are expected to see the Niners debut of newly signed veteran WR Mohamed Sanu and the pro debut of first-round rookie WR Brandon Aiyuk.

The Jets, who have also been juggling inside linebackers, get good news as Avery Williamson (hamstring) is active and ready to play in his first Jets game in two seasons. Alec Ogletree, signed from the practice squad Saturday, is also set to make his Jets debut after playing 93 games over seven seasons with the Giants and Rams.

Here is the Jets' full inactive list, totaling six players, today:

QB James Morgan QB Joe Flacco CB Nate Hairston DL Bryce Huff DL Jordan Willis WR Jamison Crowder

And these are San Francisco's inactives, also six in number:

QB C.J. Beathard CB Jason Verrett LB Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles DL Dee Ford OL Tom Compton TE George Kittle

Ron Torbert is the referee, marking the eighth game he's presided over since 2014. The Jets are wearing their white jerseys and white pants for this one, a very productive recent uniform configuration. They have won their last three home games in white/white - Jacksonville in 2017, Indianapolis in '18 and Dallas last year - not to mention their 2018 season opener at Detroit in Darnold's NFL debut plus wins at Buffalo in '18 and '19.

And one interesting note for fans at home: Today's game is being televised by FOX with Kenny Albert calling his 13th Jets game since 1999 as the play-by-play announcer and "rookie" Jonathan Vilma making his first appearance as a network analyst at a Jets game. Vilma of course was the Jets' 12th overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft and played the first four of his 10 NFL seasons in green and white.

Ron Torbert is the referee, marking the eighth game he's presided over since 2014. The Jets are wearing their white jerseys and white pants for this one, a very productive recent uniform configuration. They have won their last three home games in white/white - Jacksonville in 2017, Indianapolis in '18 and Dallas last year - not to mention their 2018 season opener at Detroit in Darnold's NFL debut plus wins at Buffalo in '18 and '19.

And one interesting note for fans at home: Today's game is being televised by FOX with Kenny Albert calling his 13th Jets game since 1999 as the play-by-play announcer and "rookie" Jonathan Vilma making his first appearance as a network analyst at a Jets game. Vilma of course was the Jets' 12th overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft and played the first four of his 10 NFL seasons in green and white.

Sign up for Detroit News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!