The 49ers correctly are favored in their Week 2 road game against the lowly New York Jets, but don't be surprised if the matchup is tighter than expected. San Francisco could be without multiple key offensive contributors, and one defensive absence in particular could turn out to be quite glaring.
Richard Sherman was placed on injured reserve Wednesday after sustaining a calf strain in the late stages of San Francisco's 24-20 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1, meaning the veteran cornerback will be out for a minimum of the next three weeks. Sherman was selected to the Pro Bowl last season, though the 49ers' track record without him might more accurately speak to his value.
Sherman has missed three games since joining the 49ers prior to the 2018 season. They've lost all three contests and been far less effective defending the pass than when Sherman plays.
San Francisco has allowed nearly 10 more points against in the games Sherman hasn't played, and the cumulative opposing quarterback rating is over 10 points higher than when he has. The win-loss record isn't as indicative of his impact, as the 49ers have been a much-improved team since Sherman's first season.
Playing on the road creates additional challenges for a defense, though the noise element mostly is removed with no fans in the stand. Nonetheless, the 49ers' defense might struggle over the next few weeks, relative to its typical level of performance.
Luckily for the 49ers, none of the next three offenses they'll face will be confused with the best the league has to offer. If their own offense can execute better than it did in the loss to the Cardinals, the 49ers should be able to weather the storm while Sherman is out.