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Scouting the Opponent: San Francisco 49ers

Kaepernick to Start vs. Jets, 49ers, Veteran Safeties Keep Plugging Along


The Buzz: The San Francisco 49ers enter Week 14 with a 1-11 record, having lost 11 consecutive games after a Week 1 triumph over the Rams. In head coach Chip Kelly's first year out west, he's had both Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick running his offense, which ranks No. 30 in the league and averages 19.5 points per game.

The Offense
The Staples:
Third-year RB Carlos Hyde leads the 49ers backfield with 686 rush yards and six touchdowns on the ground, both career highs. This season, Hyde averages 17 rush attempts and 69 yards per game while averaging 3.9 yards per carry. Over the last three weeks, the Ohio State product has been producing at a higher rate than usual, rushing for an average of 81 yards per game and 4.7 yards per attempt. Hyde is also in the midst of a scoring drought as he has not rushed his way into the end zone since Week 5.

Former Jets WR Jeremy Kerley has had a bit of a revival in the Bay Area. Through 12 games, 11 of which he started, the TCU product has hauled in 43 receptions for 466 yards and three touchdowns, tying a career high. TE Vance McDonald is the only 'Niner with more receiving touchdowns (four) than Kerley.

Splitting Time:After Gabbert starter the first five games for Kelly, San Francisco turned to Kaepernick in Week 6. Last week against the Bears, Gabbert relieved the 6'4", 230-pound Kaepernick in the team's 26-6 loss. In his six games, Gabbert has thrown for 925 yards, five touchdowns and six interceptions compared to Kaepernick's 1,144 yards, 10 TDs and 3 INTs. Kaepernick has shown flashes of his 2012-self, both effective on the ground and through the air. In Week 12 against the Dolphins, the sixth-year veteran threw for 296 yards, three TDs and one INT while rushing for 113 on 10 carries. Offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins announced Tuesday that Kaepernick will start against the Jets Sunday.

The Defense
The Anchors:
The 49ers' starting safeties, Antoine Bethea and Eric Reid, rank first and third on the team respectively with 78 and 62 total tackles. Reid has been effective in pass rushing and coverage, racking up five QB hits and passes defended. Unfortunately, the four-year vetern injured his biceps in Week 12 and was placed on injured reserve. Jaquiski Tartt has started the past two weeks in Reid's place, racking up seven total tackles. The 32-year old Bethea has done a little bit of everything this season, registering two TFL, one QBH, one INT, three PDs and one FF and FR.

OLB Ahmad Brooks has been the most effective pass rusher this season for the Niners, leading the team in sacks (5.0), TFL (7.0) and QBH (8). The Virginia product has at had at least a half sack the last three weeks and has failed to record a sack in just five games.

Blockin' Brock: CB Tramaine Brock has been very active as a part of a 49ers secondary that ranks No. 14 in the league in passing defense — Brock is T10 in the NFL with 12 PDs, which also leads the team. The seventh-year player has gone only four games this season without getting his hands on the pigskin.

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