On Sunday the New York Jets (2-1) go on the road to take on the Tennessee Titans (2-1) at LP Field (4:05 EST.). The Jets are coming off of an exciting victory over the Buffalo Bills while the Titans pulled out a last second win over the San Diego Chargers. Here are some of the keys to the game from the New York perspective.
Match the intensity- The Titans play a very physical and aggressive style of defense which has yielded solid results against both the pass (ranked 10th) and the run (13th). The New York Jets offensive line must match the physicality of the Titans defense. If Gang Green can win the battles at the line of scrimmage and establish a consistent running game they can offset the aggressive blitz packages.
Get the tight ends involved- Last week the New York Jets passing game was built around the vertical passing attack against a banged up Bills secondary. The Titans secondary will be a much bigger challenge which will require a different strategy. The Jets game plan should include working the tight end position in the middle of the field which will open up plays for the wide receivers. Both Kellen Winslow and Jeff Cumberland have been quiet as of late and that needs to change in order for the passing attack to progress.
The power of Powell- It appears that running back Chris Ivory will be out on Sunday which makes Bilal Powell the feature back once again. Powell has done an excellent job for the Jets putting up 226 yards which is second in the AFC. Bilal must continue with his physical style of running and remain a versatile threat out of the backfield. Alex Green will back up Powell and fullback Tommy Bohanon will more than likely be used in a variety of roles.
Limit turnovers- This has the potential to be a very close game therefore the Jets cannot afford to turn the ball over. Quarterback Geno Smith must continue to improve with his decision making and avoid the costly turnovers. Smith must take what the defensive gives him and either throw the ball away or run for yardage when the situation presents itself.
Contain Chris Johnson- The Tennessee offense is built around their running game which is ranked 7th in the NFL. Running back Chris Johnson is a dynamic player (ranked 1st in AFC with 256 yards) that can take it to the house once he gets past the line of scrimmage. The Jets must contain the edge and prevent Johnson from getting into open space. Finishing tackles is a must for the Jets linebackers.
Limit Locker- Titans quarterback Jake Locker is off to a solid start as he has not thrown an interception this season. Locker has the ability to get the ball down the field and uses his legs to buy time in the pocket. The Jets defense must contain Jake and force him into making bad decisions with the football.
Solid secondary play- The Tennessee offense features several receivers that can make big plays. Gang Green's secondary must remain consistent in coverage and avoid communication mistakes and blown assignments. Defensive back Dee Milliner is questionable for Sunday which means Darrin Walls will cover for him while Kyle Wilson plays the nickel position.
Bring the heat- The Jets defense is coming off of a game where they tallied 8 sacks. The unit must provide the same type of aggressive and physical play this Sunday against the Titans. Keep an eye on the defensive tackles (Harrison, Richardson, Douzable) as they try to get penetration up the middle.
The Titans will be an excellent road test for the Jets as they play very well in front of their raucous home crowd. The key to the game will be turnovers and avoiding the big mistakes. With that being said I think that Geno Smith may struggle in this game as the Titans defense is going to put a lot of pressure on him. The Jets defense will keep them in the game but I do not think that the offense will do enough to win it for them. Titans 20-14.