TALE OF THE TAPE

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Week 4: San Francisco 49ers At New York Jets

49ers
Jets
San Francisco 49ers v Cincinnati Bengals
Carolina Panthers v New York Jets
Quarterback
Winner The 49ers have not lost their status as the likely NFC front runner just because they lost a road game to the Vikings. While Alex Smith was not at his best that game, he has become a consistent passer and an outstanding leader. Look for Smith to return to top form against the Jets.
Mark Sanchez is playing like he has gotten the message this season. He is playing with urgency and purpose. While that has made him a more effective quarterback, he still has many areas to work on, including passing accuracy. However, Sanchez has shown he can come through in end-of-game drives.
Offense
Winner The key to the 49ers’ offensive success is establishing their physical dominance with their hard-hitting offensive line and the honest, workmanlike play of running back Frank Gore. Tight end Vernon Davis is a go-to receiver who may be the best at his position in the league. Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree are playing well, but Randy Moss has not asserted himself yet.
The Jets are not the kind of team that is going to dazzle anyone with consistent big plays from the wide receivers. That may fly in the face of the modern game, but Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell can carry the ball. Wideouts Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley are the Jets’ best receiving threats.
Defense
Winner The 49ers got pushed around by the Minnesota Vikings in Week Three and that is not going to sit well with Jim Harbaugh in practice. He is going to push hard this week, so look for a nasty and physical effort from linebackers Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith as well as defensive end Justin Smith.
The Jets may not have All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis (knee), who appeared to buckle as he made a cut against the Dolphins. While the Jets are solid defensively without Revis, they lose much of their identity without him. The Jets linebackers will have to be at their best to control the Niners’ running game.
Special Teams
The 49ers can feel confident every time they send David Akers out to attempt a field goal. He’s healthy and he’s booming long field goals again. Kyle Williams is an explosive return specialist who had a 94-yard kickoff return against the Vikings.
Winner The Jets can thank Nick Folk for providing the winning points in the overtime win over the Dolphins. Folk does not have a big leg, but he has been consistent. Unsung hero Robert Malone averaged 45.7 yards on six punts against the Dolphins.

The Winner Is

San Francisco 49ers v Cincinnati Bengals
Winner 49ers
3 out of 4

The 49ers are not used to losing, but they came up with a mediocre effort against the Vikings and were handled easily. Look for Jim Harbaugh’s team to rally from that game and play at a peak level against Rex Ryan’s Jets. Look for one of the most physical and nasty games of the season. The 49ers should have enough to overcome New York’s home field advantage.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 25:  Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers runs the ball against  Anthony Barr #55 of the Minnesota Vikings in the 1st quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Devonta Freeman #24 of the Atlanta Falcons reacts after scoring a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 26, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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  2. ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25:   LeSean McCoy #25 of the Buffalo Bills runs against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half at New Era Field on September 25, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22:  LeGarrette Blount #29 of the New England Patriots rushes for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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  3. LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks speaks to  Richard Sherman #25 in the second quarter of the home opening NFL game against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Coliseum on September 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 25: Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the New York Jets signals an audible against the Kansas City Chiefs defense at Arrowhead Stadium during the first quarter of the game on September 25, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
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