Yanks, Jets face crucial matchups this week

The best part about this time of year is that there are plenty of exciting games to watch. Baseball season is coming to a close, with playoffs drawing nearer. European soccer has a fresh feel to it, as newly assembled teams get used to each other and start to get in rhythm. Of course, we can’t forget football. America’s most popular sport dominates the airwaves this time of year, and this weekend’s games are sure to be exciting.

San Francisco 49ers @ New York Jets, 1:15 p.m., Sunday, on CBS:

The 49ers are coming off of a tough loss to a team they should have beaten. The Jets come into this game after winning by a stunning 3 points against their division rival, the Miami Dolphins, last week. Quarterback Mark Sanchez has fallen back down to earth after a strong Week One performance. He will have to play well, as the Jets will be facing one of the league’s best rushing defenses. On the other side of the ball, 49ers quarterback Alex Smith will be looking to rebound from a horrible game against Minnesota. This game will feature hard hits, trash talking and clean tackles. An example of how football should be played.

New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays, 1:07 p.m., Saturday, on YES:

With a little over a week to go in the 2012 season, every game counts — now more than ever. The Yankees hold a one and a half game lead over the Baltimore Orioles for the American League East crown, and the Yankees could miss the playoffs if they don’t take care of business down the stretch. Andy Pettite is set to pitch for the Yankees, and he is known for saving his best performances for when it matters the most. Look for the Yankees to put in a solid performance.

Tottenham Hotspur @ Manchester United, 12:30 p.m., Sunday, on SiriusXM channel 207:

This should be a really good one. These two teams were retooled in the off-season, and now there are going to battle it out on one of English soccer’s biggest stages. Manchester forward Wayne Rooney is returning to action after missing over a month with a lacerated quad muscle. This will be yet another chance to see if he can gel with the newly acquired Dutch superstar Robin Van Persie. For Tottenham, the question will be if American star Clint Dempsey can play like he did last year with Fulham. If so, this match will be even closer than anticipated.

Sebastien Van Heyningen is a deputy sports editor. Email him at [email protected]