Tennessee must enjoy seeing another AFC East opponent on their schedule. Other than a 34-14 opening day loss to the Patriots, the Titans have scored 35 & 37 points in their two victories against Buffaloand Miami (That’s two of their four wins on the season!). With nine losses, the Titansaren’t fooling anyone with playoff aspirations; but they could give the homefans something to cheer about, as they end the 2012 campaign with two winnablegames at LP Field. They close the season against the Jacksonville Jaguars Week17, who looked miserable in a 17-10 loss against their upcoming opponent thisMonday night…the New York Jets.
The Jets know what they need to do to keep their slim playoff chances alive, they’vegotta win! No matter what scenario we dream up, or how long the odds are, theJets need to win the final three games on their schedule to have any shot atplaying Wildcard Weekend. The New England Patriots, as they have for the lastten years or so, own the division. I’m pretty sure the Houston Texans wouldconcede the conference after that 42-14 manhandling they received at the handsof the Patriots. Maybe during pregame stretching, Jets and Titans players cantrade stories of watching points add up like a video game against the Pats.
Points have been hard to come by for the New York Jets on offense. One touchdownagainst the Cardinals is one thing, because they actually have a good defense,but only seventeen point against a Jaguars team that gave up 34, 43, 27, 31,24, 26 (twice), 41 & 27 in their other loses, doesn’t say much for GangGreen’s ability to score the football. The Titans have lost three straight, butthis Monday will be their opportunity to salvage the season in the minds of thefan base, and topple one of the diva teams in the NFL at the same time. JakeLocker and Kenny Britt have connected in the passing game, but Chris Johnson isthe one to watch out for. This isn’t the kind of season he had in mind, buthe’s still tallied 1037 yards rushing and has nearly 4.7 yards per carry. Weall know the Jets defense has had problems tackling running backs this season,and those yards after contact numbers are just brutal. If the Jets allowJohnson to have his way rushing the ball, I don’t see them surviving this onethe way they’ve managed their way through the last two games.
One way the Jets can beat the Titans is by utilizing their own ground game, as Tennessee istwenty-fourth against the run. Lex Hilliard has been crushing would-be tacklerswhile clearing holes for Shonn Greene & Bilal Powell. Do yourself a favorand watch number thirty-six play football; I dare you to walk away unimpressedby his ability to find the free rusher and take him out of the play. The Titansare twenty-sixth against the pass; however the Jets haven’t attacked via thepass in weeks. Mark Sanchez, who will get the start Monday night, has only 22completions and 208 yards passing in the last two games (some QBs can tallythose numbers in one half.). Greg McElroy, the only Jets QB to throw a TD passin the last two weeks, may find himself in street clothes again this week, asTim Tebow will be dressed and active on Monday night. Rex has said they may notrun much Wildcat package, but Tebow will be ready to perform when called upon.He hasn’t played in the last three games due to those injured ribs, but reportshave him taking more reps in practice. I question the move of not havingMcElroy dress, but as long as he’s inactive, he’s chained to that sideline andSanchez is the man in the huddle.
There will be an old, familiar face rejoining the offensive huddle on Monday night.The team welcomed back Braylon Edwards on Thursday, after claiming him offwaivers from the Seattle Seahawks. Seattlefelt Edwards’s injured hamstring would keep him from playing the remainder ofthe season, but it looks like the Jets and Edwards think differently. It’s beenall smiles so far, as the “idiots” comment Edwards made on twitter has beenswept under the rug. Rex used a little humor to deflect that question, saying“he’d been called worse”. Gotta love that Rex, if he was as good coaching upthat offense as he is smooth-talking the media…
Rex has no problem getting his defense on track. The Jets are third against the passand eighth overall. Antonio Cromartie has done an excellent job taking over forDarrelle Revis, and Kyle Wilson has improved by leaps and bounds. Cro has beenglued to the opposition’s number one WR, and week-by-week, the cushion Wilson gives off the lineof scrimmage has shrunk considerably. DBs always look better in coverage whenthe front line is getting pressure on the QB. Mo Wilkerson has owned the secondhalf of the season with his play up front, racking up three sacks in the lastfive games. Quinton Coples showed signs of life Sunday, picking up a couple oftackles and a sack against the Jaguars. Both will need to be a factor in rundefense as well as the usually pressure on the QB. They need to maintain theirlane discipline and not allow Chris Johnson to catch them rushing wildly, orhe’s flying right by them… and right past a linebacker.
A lot of missed tackles by LBs leads to a lot of work for your safeties. Yeremiah Belland the LaRon Landry, or the “heat-seeking missile” according to Rex Ryan, havedone a lot of cleaning up this season. David Harris (101) leads the team intackles, but Landry (89) and Bell (76) are right behind him at second and third respectively. The Jets need tokeep the top on this defense and make sure both safeties return next season.With Revis returning, Cro playing excellently, Wilson improving, having Bell& Landry would make the Jets nickel package a real bear for opposingoffensive coordinators to figure out next season. As of now, it’s one game at atime, and a clash with the Titans!
Tune into NYJets in 30, with your hosts the Amazing Jinx Grand (@JGSportsTalk) and myselfon BlogTalk Radio for game analysis, predictions, and a breakdown of theupcoming opponent.
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