With the Jets still riding high after their huge win against the Patriots last week, they now head down to Tennessee to take on the undefeated Titans. Right now the Jets sit alone on top in the AFC East, but they are well aware that if they do not show up against the Titans, they will be back in a tie for first in their division. On paper the Jets seem to match up well with the Titans, so I do not see this game being a blow out for either team. But it will be fun to watch, that's for sure.
One of the main keys for the Jets is for Brett Favre to keep playing smart. He has only thrown 1 interception in the past three games. He has been able to manage games efficiently without putting the Jets in any bad situations. Favre has found a new favorite target the past 2 weeks to get the ball to, Dustin Keller. The rookie tight end has finally become what the Jets thought they were getting when they took him in the first round of the 2008 draft. Against the Rams two weeks ago, Keller had 6 receptions for 107 yards. Last week against the Patriots he had 8 more catches for 87 yards. With him emerging as a down field threat, defenses will have to adjust which could leave either Jerricho Cotchery or Laveranues Coles in man coverage. And if that is the case, Favre should be able to see this and expose it.
With every passing week, the Jets offensive line keeps improving. Thomas Jones was able to get another 100 yard game last week, gaining 104 yards on 30 carries against New England. He has become the Jets workhorse over the past month. He still is the leading rusher in the AFC with 854 yards on the ground. He also has 8 touchdowns over the past six games. This week will be a lot tougher for Jones to have a big game. The Titans are a very physical team and they have big Albert Haynesworth plugging up the middle of their defensive line. Haynesworth is having an MVP type season for Tennessee with 7 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. They will be tough to run against, but they do give up almost 100 yards on the ground per game. I'm not saying the Jets will gain 100 yards on the ground, but I do think they can get close to that number if Favre can get the passing game going.
With the exception of Matt Cassel gaining 62 yards rushing last week, the Jets still have the 4th best rushing defense in the NFL. They were able to limit four other of the Patriots running backs to a total of 63 yards on the ground. Kris Jenkins, who is also a candidate for defensive MVP, is having a stellar season anchoring the line for the Jets. He may not have as many stats as Haynesworth, but what he has done for the Jets run defense has been remarkable. And with him having the season he is having, it has allowed Shaun Ellis to have his best season in the past 4 years for the Jets. He currently leads the team with 7 sacks. They will have their work cut out for them with the Titans running game. Led by Chris Johnson and LenDale White, the Titans rush for about 133 yards per game. Johnson leads the way with 787 yards rushing and White has pounded his way to 11 touchdowns so far. I believe the Jets run defense matches up well with the Titans running game. If they are able to keep them under 100 yards and not control the clock, then they just have to deal with Kerry Collins and the passing game.
This is where the Jets may run into a problem. The Jets passing defense has been up and down all season. One week they look great, as they did against the Rams two weeks ago. And the next week they look horrible, as they did against the Patriots last week. Letting Matt Cassel throw for 400 yards in the air, most of that in the second half of the game. And Collins, as we have seen the past two weeks, is more than capable of leading the Titans to a win through the air. They went down early last week to the Jaguars 14-3, only to have Collins throw for three touchdowns and lead the Titans to a 24-14 win in Jacksonville. Collins does not make mistakes, with only 4 interceptions on the season, and will not hurt the team with bad throws. The Titans are a run first team and they only seem to rely on the pass when they need to. Last week the Jets welcomed back Ty Law and he did a very good job on Randy Moss. Considering it was his first game action in 11 months, I'd say he was up to the task. With Darrelle Revis most likely matched up with Justin Gage, that means the Jets linebackers and safety's need to watch out for the Titans tight end Bo Scaife. He leads the team in receptions and yards. This will be tough for New York, who is still missing David Harris, but Kerry Rhodes has played a lot better as of late and should be on him for a good portion of the game.
I really think the Jets can win this game. Basically, Favre has to limit his mistakes to pretty much zero and the pass defense has to show up. If they play they way they did against the Rams and Bills, then I think the Jets will win. The run defense will play the way they have been all year and the running game should be able to eat up enough clock in the second half to be able to grab a win. The field position the Jets are given by Leon Washington will also be a big factor. Every time he touches the ball, he has the ability to make something big happen. I think the Jets win a close one 21-17, with the Jets making a big defensive stand late in the game.