There is every reason for the Jets to be confident when they take the field against the Titans on Sunday. We're coming off a come-from-behind victory against the Giants. We're 7-5 and in the hunt for a play-off spot, and we're facing a 3-9 team at home. I don't think it's disrespectful to the Titans to say that most believe the Jets should win this game, based on roster talent and 2015 performance, they should. However we all know the Jets are prone to a disappointment or two. This is a different coaching staff, a difficult culture, a different environment, but this game still makes me very nervous.
For all the problems the Titans have had, they have talent on their roster. They have a QB who can beat teams in a lot of ways and they have one of the best tight ends in the whole NFL. They have a top 10 defense in the NFL and they are productive against the pass. Walker could take advantage of mis-matches with our linebackers and safeties and the Jets will need to keep Mariota in the pocket, as once he gets outside and starts to run, I fear he could expose the lack of speed among the defense.
The Jets have looked to improve on the weakness that teams have exploited for the last two years, and that's getting speedy play-makers the ball in space against our linebackers. By doing this teams try to exploit our weakness (linebackers) and negate our strength (defensive line). However the Jets have reduced Demario Davis's playing time, and mixing in Erin Henderson, who plays a lot better in space. Calvin Pryors improvement also gives us a physical last line of defense and he has underrated speed.
However, the Jets should win this game. The Titans struggle against big physical receivers, we happen to have the most productive, dominant, physical combination at wide receiver in the league with Brandon Marshall and Erik Decker. Tennessee turn the ball over as much as anyone in the league, the Jets have done a good job in 2015 scoring off turnovers. The Titans like to try and run the ball early to take pressure off the passing game, the Jets have one of the most dominant run defenses in the league, which may result in Tennessee being in 3rd and long a lot of the time.
However the Titans have a few play-makers who they could utilize in the RB screen game, and that's what concerns me. Antonio Andrews is averaging over 10 yards a reception, and although they haven't used him extensively in the passing game, he is a threat. Dexter McCluster has a lot of speed that could be exploited, he's averaging 8.2 yards a catch. Finally you have Bishop Sankey, averaging 9.1 yards per catch. The negative is, all three are capable of breaking a big run. The positive? The Titans don't exploit their RB's in the passing game all that often.
The Jets should win this football game. However if you think it's going to be a walk in the park, you're mistaken. The Titans are a very inconsistent team. They are coming off the back of a shoot-out win against the Jaguars, but that came after a 3 game losing streak. In fact, the Titans haven't won back-to-back games all year. However it's a young team who are improving, Mariota is getting better, Walker is as strong as ever and Dorial Green-Beckham is starting to show that talent that had people saying he would have been a 1st round talent had it not been for off-field issues.
As a Jets fan, these games always make me nervous.