So the Jets enter Sunday's game against the Titans with a record of 2-0. Last week they outplayed and outcoached the New England Patriots, beating them in the Meadowlands for the first time since 2000. Now they will play a Tennessee team that comes in at 0-2 and desperate for a win. So far this week, the trash talking Jets have been remotely quiet. After talking all week about the Patriots leading up to the game, the Jets have not posted any bulletin board material leading into the showdown with the Titans.
We'll start off here with the Jets offense. Last week against New England, the Jets could do nothing on offense in the 1st half. All they were able to manage was a field goal. Against the Texans in week 1, they managed only a field goal in the first quarter. The Jets may not have the opportunity to start out slow this week. Tennessee will be fired up in this game, looking to take the crowd out of it early.
The best way for the Jets to stop that is to establish the running game early. Last week Thomas Jones rushed for 54 yards and Leon Washington rushed for 58 yards himself against New England. Last November in Tennessee, Jones and Washington put up 178 yards against a defense led by Albert Haynesworth. Now that Haynesworth is in Washington, the Titans run defense is not as strong as it was last season, but it is still very good. They are currently 2nd in the NFL against the run, giving up about 99 yards per game. Do not expect the Jets to put up 178 yards this time around, but expect a solid performance out of the running game on Sunday. As long as they can get something going on the ground, they should be able to set up the play action passes and keep the Titans guessing.
When it comes down to it, the game may be Jets rookie QB Mark Sanchez' for the taking. While the Titans defense is ranked 2nd in the league against the run, their passing defense is on the opposite end of the spectrum. They are currently ranked last in the NFL, giving up about 340 yards per game in the air. This looks to be the perfect opportunity for the Jets passing game to finally take off. Heading into week 3, New York is averaging about 205 yards per game in the air. It's time for Brian Schottenheimer to use some spread formations and get some receivers downfield and see what Sanchez has.
As of now Jets #1 WR Jerricho Cotchery leads the team with 10 receptions for 177 yards. The yardage is not bad through two games but he needs to get more than 5 catches per game. Jets #2 receiver Chansi Stuckey only has 8 catches in the first two games. Sanchez needs to get him more involved in the offense this week. WR's Brad Smith and David Clowney round out the top four and have not done much over the first 2 weeks.
Sanchez has been very good over the first two games protecting the football. He seems to be very smart with the ball in the pocket. If he can find some open receivers, it will open some holes for the running game. And if the Jets can run the ball, the pressure will be off Sanchez. If he does have any trouble while dropping back, he can always get the ball over to TE Dustin Keller. Keller is building off a solid rookie year to emerge as a solid option for the Jets in the passing game.
The rock of the Jets so far this season has been their defense. Their front seven has looked very strong over the first two weeks. They will have their work cut for them. So far this year, the Titans have been averaging 163 yards per game on the ground. Last week against the Texans, RB Chris Johnson ran for 197 yards and caught 9 balls for 97 yards. His career day also included 3 td's. A key for the Jets this week is to try to slow down Johnson. It will be hard for them to stop him, so they need to limit the damage. Stop Johnson and make QB Kerry Collins beat them through the air.
The passing game for the Titans, which is averaging 221 yards per game, is still not clicking on all cylinders yet. Their top two receivers Kenny Britt and Justin Gage still have not taken off just yet. Both of them only have about 100 yards on the season. Meanwhile the Jets secondary has only been giving up about 180 yards per game, good enough for 9th in the NFL. But the Jets are hurting out there right now. CB's Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland both got banged up last week against the Patriots and have missed some practice time this week. But with CB Darrelle Revis and S Kerry Rhodes still back there, the Jets should be ok this week.
This is a tough game to gage for the Jets this week. They are riding high after shutting down two top offenses in the NFL in the Patriots and Texans. In fact, they still have not surrendered an offensive touchdown this season. While the Titans have lost two tough games and are looking to right their ship this week. This is setting up to be a classic "Let-Down" game for the Jets. But that is why Jets hired Rex Ryan, to keep this team motivated and ready to go come game days. I think the Jets defense comes out firing on Sunday and knock Kerry Collins around to start the game. Make him make mistakes and try to limit the damage from Chris Johnson. If the Jets can do this, they will be off to their first 3-0 start in a while. Jets open up the passing game and take this one 28-17.