Where Each Team Is
Both teams sit at 2-1 and have arguably exceeded expectations in the opening weeks of the season. The Jets survived the Bills in spite of a record setting number of penalties and the Titans hung on to narrowly beat the Chargers by a score of 20-17. The Jets rookie quarterback and de facto lead running back both had career days against the Buffalo Bills and have earned accolades. Meanwhile, Jake Locker has capably spread the ball around to veteran Nate Washington and the young Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker. Kenny Britt, 4th in production as a receiver for the Titans, is widely considered to be on the outs with the Titans powers that be.
Sister Site: Music City Miracles
Location: LP Field. Nashville, Tennessee.
Field: Open air, natural grass.
Weather: Chance of thunderstorms, high of 78.
Record: Titans lead the all-time series, 23-17-1.
What happened last time? The Titans beat the Jets by a score of 14-10 in December of 2012.
Who is favored? Titans by 5 on the opening line.
(Players designated "Probable" status are omitted)
Out: Dee Milliner (CB) Hamstring, Oday Aboushi (T) Knee, Chris Ivory (RB) Hamstring.
Out: Shonn Greene (RB) Knee, Sammie Lee Hill (DT) Ankle. Questionable: Patrick Bailey (LB) Hamstring, Delanie Walker (TE) Toe, Blidi Wreh-Wilson (CB) Hamstring, Kenny Britt (WR) Neck.
Jets: On offense the Jets are 26th in points, 10th in yards, 17th in the air and 17th on the ground. The Jets have quietly become a top 10 rushing team in the young season but you can't quite call it ground and pound as the Jets have mixed in a balanced attack of pass and run. The Jets are effectively gaining yardage, but not closing the deal by scoring enough points.
The Jets defense is impressive. 7th in points allowed, 3rd in yards allowed, 7th against the pass and 6th against the run. If early results are any indication Rex Ryan's greater involvement in play calling on defense is yielding greater results than in previous seasons under Mike Pettine.
Titans: On offense the Titans are 21st in points scored, 28th in total yardage, 30th in pass yards and 7th in rushing yards. The Titans will be without backup RB Shonn Greene who has had limited impact on the offense at best for the team. Chris Johnson and Jake Locker have delivered the vast majority of rushing production for the Titans so far this season.
On defense, the Titans are 10th in points allowed, 8th in total yards allowed, 10th against the pass and 13th against the run. The Titans don't do anything best on defense but every measurable facet of their defense plays above average. Both defenses are stout and this figures to be a close and potentially sloppy game.
Attacking the Titans
The Titans aren't weak per se anywhere on defense, only relatively speaking can we say that the rush defense is the weakness to be exploited. Bilal Powell has no one to challenge him for snaps and after a standout performance last week, and it makes sense to have him pound the rock all day long.
The Titans passing offense isn't very good in terms of relative production, which is good for the Jets because they will be without rookie Dee Milliner in the secondary. If the Jets can play tight defense up front and remain as effective against the pass as they have so far this year, they should be able to outpace the Titans and win the game.
Kyle Wilson needs to redeem himself and have a solid game against the Titans as Dee Milliner is out as was mentioned before, and all able bodies in coverage will need to be utilized. The entire team needs to get the penalties under control. Jeremy Kerley and Kellen Winslow Jr. haven't been the security blankets one might expect a rookie QB to take advantage of, however their lack of production could potentially be attributed to the resurgence of Santonio Holmes and the good rapport between Geno Smith and Stephen Hill.
Titans to Watch
Chris Johnson will be the one-man show that he's always wanted this Sunday with an underutilized Shonn Greene sitting this game out, so there won't be the storyline of Green against his old team this week after all. Jake Locker, like Geno Smith, had an up game last week so it will be curious to see if he keeps it rolling or comes crashing down against the Jets effective and capable defensive unit. Kendall Wright is a young beast of a receiver in the making. Delanie Walker may or may not play but if he does he's one of the better and more productive tight ends in the NFL. Nate Washington is a big threat to chew up yardage and is the Titans leading receiver in yardage so far this year. On defense; Zach Brown, Alterraun Verner, and Bernard Pollard are physical players and potential game changers.
Bro's Bottom Line
One team will simply use their opponent to vault themselves up the power rankings while the other will be doomed to mediocrity and bad press. This is one of those games on the schedule the Jets simply must take advantage of, although in a year of seemingly high competition and parity the team schedule might not be quite as grueling as it originally appeared. The Jets need to overcome and outpace Jake Locker and the Titans if they are to be a real threat in the AFC this season. If the Jets keep rolling from last weeks momentum and upset the Titans, the team has a legitimate chance to shock some people and pull out a decent 2013-14 season.
J!-E!-T!-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!!!
Post Script: Sincere apologies to Half Serious and J-Nasty whose conversation about the Browns in last weeks GGN preview I accidentally deleted when I only meant to collapse that conversation tree in my private browser. That was lousy modding on my part and I didn't mean to remove your guys conversation. Super sorry. :(