49ers vs. Jets preview: Mark Sanchez, the NFL's least intimidating starting quarterback

Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The San Francisco 49ers need to force the game into Mark Sanchez's hands on Sunday. If they do that, it's likely they can get out of there with a win,

There's a few things we haven't been able to really joke around about here at SB Nation Bay Area in recent years. When it comes to the San Francisco 49ers, it's been tough to ever take a look at other teams and simply laugh at their situation. Sure, we can make fun of Jay Cutler when he throws five interceptions, and we can laugh at the Miami Dolphins and whoever they dug up to play for them each season, but San Francisco has been the model of instability at the position for years.

But Alex Smith has picked things up after six or seven truly awful years in the NFL. He's not one of the premier quarterbacks in the league, but you'll find him above Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets in most rankings, and it feels good to have that feeling.

More than Sanchez, the Jets have Tim Tebow, who is just so laughably bad it's almost impossible to joke about it. Now, Sanchez is capable of putting up some big numbers at times, but for the most part, he remains one of the most inconsistent quarterbacks in the league when it comes to his accuracy. He's capable of throwing multiple interceptions in the absolute worst situations every single time he's on the field.

That isn't to say he can't go out there and shred a 49ers pass defense that might be slightly overrated, but it is to say that it's arguable that Christian Ponder is much more of a threat at this point. Maybe Sanchez will have a career year and things will "click" this time around, but for now, there's not much going on with that offense that the 49ers should fear.

Then again, Adrian Peterson had himself a good game last week, and San Francisco's run defense is perhaps its strongest asset. Now, [insert Jets running back here] it's Peterson by any means, so there's that. In a sense, this game will come down to not much more than whether or not the 49ers can contain the mistakes they committed gratuitously against the Vikings. If they can force the game into Sanchez's hands, well ... that's some of the least-intimidating hands they could be in. Sorry, Jets fans.

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