First a few updates:
1. The Jets signed corner Marquice Cole from their practice squad to the active roster, and released tight end Matthew Mulligan. Lito Sheppard (quad) and Donald Strickland (ankle) both didn’t practice today and Rex Ryan didn’t sound that confident when discussing either of them playing this Sunday. If both those guys don’t play, expect to see Dwight Lowery start opposite Darrelle Revis and Drew Coleman move into the nickle spot.
2. Michael Ventre of NBC Sports doesn’t seem to like the Jets or their fans too much, as expressed here: (http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/32975810/ns/sports-nfl//) . He made alot of less than flattering generalizations about Jets fans and seems to have us all pegged as overweight, stupid, and unable to put sentences together without a profanity. He also doesn’t have much faith in the Jets sustaining their success. I don’t know Michael Ventre, but it sounds like his girlfriend cheated on him with a guy from New York or something.
3. The Jets are ranked #4 in USA Today’s Power Rankings, let’s not read the press clippings like last year.
4. Jets are currently ranked #1 in yards allowed and still are yet to allow a touchdown. If you take away the Sanchez interception and the field goal from Leon Washington’s fumble, and they have allowed 6 points.
5. Good to have the Yankees back in the playoffs, where they belong. However, I am not getting too excited until they lock up the AL East crown.
Jets vs. Titans: Key Match-Ups
Tomorrow check back for an excessively comprehensive breakdown of the Jets/Titans game and then again on Friday for my prediction, today I am going to focus on the key individual match-ups for this Sunday’s game.
Bart Scott/David Harris vs. Chris Johnson: Johnson is coming off a game where he had 197 yards rushing and 87 yards receiving, no that isn’t a misprint. He has tremendous speed and game-breaking ability that likely keeps many defensive coordinators up at night. It will be on the Jets linebackers, led by Scott and Harris to get Johnson in the backfield before he can explode through the hole and to wrap him when they get a chance. A missed tackle against this guy could lead to a 70 yard touchdown. The Jets are going to have to commit a corner or safety to him in coverage when he splits out, but if he is catching passes out of the backfield, Harris or Scott have to recognize the play and react before he builds up a head of steam.
Jerricho Cotchery/Chansi Stuckey/David Clowney/Dustin Keller vs. Cortland Finnegan/Nick Harper/Michael Griffin/Chris Hope: The Titans pass defense has been awful through the first two weeks of the regular season. Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward, and Andre Johnson all went for over 100 yards on them. Despite having a rookie quarterback, this might be the game for Brian Schottenheimer to turn the spread/passing offense a little bit loose. Jerricho Cotchery had the best statistical game of his career against the Titans two years ago (8 receptions, 152 yards, 1 TD) and also had a nice day against them last year with 6 catches for 55 yards. Dustin Keller had 6 catches last year against the Titans, converting multiple key third downs. It will be interesting to see if Sanchez can air a few out this Sunday and maybe hit a guy like David Clowney or Cotchery on a few big plays. Nobody is saying the Jets should abandon their running game, but if there are opportunities for big plays in the passing game, the Jets need to take advantage of them.
Jets Offensive Line vs. Titans Defensive Line: The Jets ran all over Tennesee last year en route to a 34-13 victory. Rex Ryan has expressed some mild disappointment with the Jets production on the ground so far and both Thomas Jones and Leon Washington are coming off quiet games running the ball. The Titans have one of the NFL’s best run defenses, so it would make a statement if the Jets could have the type of success they did last year.
Rex Ryan vs. The Let Down Game: The Jets are coming off an emotional victory and are suddenly becoming the national media’s darlings. Tennessee is a team that is much better than their 0-2 record indicates and is facing a desperation game, because coming back from 0-3 in the AFC South would be near impossible. All in the ingredients are in place for the Jets to have a major let down performance/reality check. Can Rex have his team ready to go with the same intensity he did last week?
Leon Delivers the Knockout Punch to Tennessee Last Year