The Jets slim playoff hopes remain intact but doubtful as the team marches on to another underwhelming opponent, this time on the prime time stage. This is another team eliminated from contention that falls far below most average league ranks. Still, the Titans are not the same animal as the beyond-terrible teams the Jets faced the two previous weeks in the Cardinals and Jaguars. In spite of having stud running back Chris Johnson at their disposal, rushing is the only facet of the Titans offense that is performing worse than the Jets. A balanced defensive stand where the unit shows up equally can likely deliver the Jets another close and crucial win as the team looks to right itself back to .500.
The Jets will continue to rely on help for the remainder of the season while they attempt to scrape by the remainder of their losing-team opponents. Nothing is over yet, but temper your expectations and join Rex & company in trying to focus on salvaging the 2012-13 team record.
Where Each Team Is
The Jets are either the best of the worst teams or the worst of the best AFC teams, depending on your outlook. Most would agree on the former given how the Jets have played so far this season. The Jets will fight tooth and nail for their 7th win while praying for miracles from around the league.
The Titans were eliminated from playoff contention with a loss to the Colts last week. The team has no passing attack and has struggled on the ground for several consecutive weeks. Guaranteed a losing year, the Titans are simply looking to find their identity versus the middled Jets.
Sister Site: Music City Miracles
Location: LP Field, Nashville, TN.
Field: Open air, natural Bermuda Sod grass.
Coverage: ESPN. Sirius XM 93.
Weather: Mix of sun and clouds, high of 66.
Record: Titans lead 21-17-1.
What happened last time? Jets won 24-17 at the Meadowlands during the 2009-10 season. The Jets have won the last four meetings.
Who is favored? Titans by 1 point.
Offense: The Jets are 30th in overall offense, 26th in points, 30th in passing and 13th in rushing. Tennessee is 23rd in yards, 22nd in points, 18th in passing and 23rd in rushing.
Defense: The Jets are 19th in points allowed, 8th in overall yards allowed, 3rd against the pass, and 29th against the rush. Tennessee is 31st in points allowed and 26th in passing yards allowed, 27th in total defense and 24th against the run.
Attacking the Titans
The Jets are simply incapable of scoring or moving the ball through the air under Mark Sanchez, it seems. The Jets will have to rely on Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell to carry the offense and put up most of the teams points, as they did last week against Jacksonville.
The surprisingly awful Jets run defense, 4th worst in the entire NFL, will have to contain an equally-surprisingly-bad Chris Johnson, who hasn't crossed the 100 yard rushing line in many weeks. The Titans passing offense is about dead center average under Jake Locker, so Quinton Coples and friends will have to disrupt his play to make it even harder to throw on the 2rd best passing defense in the NFL (that's third best WITHOUT our star CB).
Jets X-Factor: Braylon Edwards
Braylon Edwards is back after a roller coaster season and a half away that involved many more downs than ups. I'm not holding my breath, but maybe, just maybe there is a snowballs chance that Braylon Edwards has something left in the tank. Perhaps it's a remote possibility that an old familiar face and one of Mark Sanchez's most reliable and favorite targets could bring the spark that this offense so desperately needs. The formerly clutch receiver and blocker turned waiver wire fodder had some of his best production with the Jets, perhaps it can be recaptured. Hope springs eternal.
Matchup to Watch: Antonio Cromartie v.s. Titans Receiving Corps.
The Titans have an incredibly deep and balanced passing attack. The leading scoring receivers on their team have 4, 4, 3, 4, and 1 TD catches respectively. There are six players with well over 20 receptions and 4 in the 40-60 reception range. 10 receivers average over 8 yards a reception. 7 players have over 200 yards receiving, 4 of those players have well over 500 receiving yards.
The unsung hero of the Jets will have his hands full with Kendall Wright, Kenny Britt, and Nate Washington. At any point any of those receivers could go toe to toe with Cro and potentially break off a big play. Meanwhile,
TE Jared Cook has become a reliable work horse and could give safeties LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell, and Eric Smtih fits in the secondary, so help may be limited. (Cook is on IR - RE: smackdad)Cromartie (and Kyle Wilson) will have to be at the very top of his game like he has most of the season in order to keep the talented and deep Titans receivers at bay.
Bro's Bottom Line
This will be start of increasingly difficult "soft" matchups to close out the year. While both teams records say quite a bit about who they really are, the Titans will not be a pushover, not that any team is a pushover for the 2012-13 NY Jets. If the defense can continue its upper-tier quality play that has been seen for the past several weeks, this and every other game is winnable. I don't expect the offense to show me anything for the rest of the way, so the Jets defense is going to need a showing of epic proportions to carry the team the rest of the way.