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How can the New York Jets avoid the trappiest of trap games at home against the 3-9 Tennessee Titans?
Joe Caporoso – Start fast, particularly on offense. The Titans have played well on the whole defensively this season but were shredded apart by the Jaguars last week, most notably by Allen Robinson. If the Jets can build up a lead, it will force Tennessee to be one-dimensional and allow the Jets defensive line to beat up on a weak Titans offensive line. Marcus Mariota has been impressive but if the Jets can keep him in the pocket, he is going to end up with a few turnovers as his group of receivers will have tough sledding against a secondary that should be getting Darrelle Revis and Marcus Williams back. It will be interesting to see how Todd Bowles game plans against Delanie Walker and Dexter McCluster, two players with skill sets that could give this defense trouble. I’d look for more defensive back heavy personnel groups and for continued increased roles for Jamari Lattimore and Erin Henderson.
Joe Malfa – For a 3-9 team, the Titans have actually shown glimmers of hope over the last five weeks. Two of their three wins came in that span, in addition to close losses to the Jaguars and Raiders in which they held leads late in the game. They are ranked 8th in total defense, and despite their 28th ranked offense, Mariota has shown that he can go off during any given week. They are 3-9, but they are not going to just roll over.The Jets, however, are going to force the Titans to roll over with one of their best performances of the season. While it may be easy to look past this game coming off a “road” win over the Giants, I believe the win over the Giants will have the opposite effect and serve as the spark that ignites this team’s playoff push. The Jets did not have a hard fought, come from behind win like that all season, and all it takes is one of those games to give a team confidence and the resolve to power through the last quarter of the schedule. The defense has been tremendous in each of the last two weeks, and I expect the likes of Richardson, Wilkerson, Harris, and hopefully a healthy Revis to keep the defense on this current hot streak. On the other side of the ball, Marshall and Decker have proven to be one of the (if not the) best WR duo in the league, and FitzMagic has been in full force over the last two weeks. Things looked bleak after losing 4 out of 5 and barely squeaking by the Jaguars, but over the last two weeks, it seems as if things may be coming together for Gang Green.
In order to avoid falling victim to this trap game, the Jets simply need to play as they have over the last two weeks. The one thing I would like to see them do differently is have more of a sense of urgency on offense in terms of tempo and play calling. I am not saying they should go up-tempo like the Eagles, but they have had success when speeding things up. Chan Gailey should also try to spread the field with more 4-5 wide packages and make use of the dynamic WR duo that is in the midst of a historical season for the Jets.
I am confident they will take this game by two or three scores, with the offense continuing its success and the defense wreaking havoc on the young QB — 31-14 Jets.
John Hargaden – On the offensive side of the ball, we need to be aggressive early and often. Coming off one of his best games, Ryan Fitzpatrick will look to continue to feed his big targets Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, who are becoming one of the best WR combos in the league. Defensively, this Titans team is led by rookie QB Marcus Mariota who has had a interesting rookie year with both very good and very bad games. Pressure Mariota early, giving him many different looks and confusing him. The Jets should have Darrelle Revis back this week and potentially Marcus Williams as well, which would give a boost to the secondary. Build up a quick 10 to 14 point lead by the second quarter and do not look back. I believe Todd Bowles will have this team focused and determined as they look to be 8-5 on the year and gear up for a short week and a trip to Dallas.Anthony Cappuccino – After a huge emotional win over the Giants last week, it’d be easy to overlook this home matchup against the Titans. I think with the new staff the Jets have, preaching the one game at a time mantra, the usual let down will not take place. The Titans are a young team who have put together some competitive performances this year, but are still towards the bottom of league. The Jets matchup well on paper, as the defensive line should be licking their chops for this game. The Titans have given up 39 sacks this year, second to last in the league. I expect Muhammad Wilkerson to have a two sack performance and continually disrupt the rhythm of rookie QB Marcus Mariota, who has had an up and down year, but as we saw in their game last week against the Jaguars, when he gets into a groove, he’s tough to stop. The Jets defense should also monitor the health of speedy RB/WR Dexter McCluster, and game plan accordingly. On the offensive side of the ball, feed Ivory and incorporate Powell in creative ways like they did on Sunday. This is a game that if the Jets don’t gift the Titans points through turnovers or special teams, they should be fine.
David Aitken – Ropati Pitoitua revenge week. The one we all had circled on our calendars. If the Jets bring an effort as good as last week’s, hopefully with Revis and Williams back, I don’t think there will be an issue. What I will say about Tennesee is, despite only Cleveland having a worse record, a lot of it is inexperience as opposed to just a flat-out lack of talent. They remind me a lot of Jacksonville in that way. The defense is still largely a work-in-progress but with a lot of high draft picks invested in their offense as of late and a career year from Delanie Walker to lean on, I’m not surprised they have had a few real explosions on offense this year. Mariota has had some genuinely excellent performances but as you’d expect from a rookie he is still very hot and cold. As good as the Jets are on defense, you would expect the team defensively to really give him a hard time and win the turnover battle. If Chris Ivory can handle the carries I think this could be a big day for him as well, but so long as Marshall and Decker carry on recent form and not the inconsistent play of the month prior to that, scoring points won’t be a problem regardless. Just don’t let Jurrell Casey look as much like J.J. Watt as the Jets allowed Watt to look a few weeks ago.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com