Found December 16, 2012 on
NY Sports Nut:
New York Jets
Are you ready for some football? The New York Jets (6-7) play their first prime-time game since the Thanksgiving Day Debacle against the division-leading Patriots. Gang Green travels to the Music City to take on the Tennessee Titans (4-9) in a spoiler game.
Tennessee has already been eliminated from the playoffs and a win on Monday will knock the Jets out as well, so we will have to see how determined the Titans are to play spoiler and hurt their 2013 draft pick. Hopefully you’ve taken a look at what the Jets need to happen to make the playoffs, besides a win on Monday.
New York Offense vs. Tennessee Defense
The Jets have the third worst total offense in the league but the 12th best rushing offense… You do the math. Clearly Mark Sanchez has not made the strides the organization would have hoped for in the quarterback’s fourth year as he continues to turn the ball over and has yet to make any consistent improvements to his completion percentage. However, he has stepped up in big moments in the past (mainly the playoffs) and he will need to do so in the remaining three games.
As evident by their decent ranking, the run game has been really picked up the slack from earlier this season, rushing for another 166 yards against Jacksonville last week. Bilal Powell has provided a boost to Shonn Greene and the run game as a whole as the second-year back has been given double-digit carries in each of the last four games and scored four touchdowns over that span.
Greene, however, still leads the team in carries and is only 117 yards shy of his second consecutive 1,000 season, but his lack of consistency and 3.8 yards-per-carry average could lead the Jets to not re-sign him at the end of the season. Knowing he is in a contract season and that the Jets are relying on him more than ever with a struggling Sanchez, hopefully Greene will pick up his game even more and run over a Tennessee defense that gives up 127 yards-per-game.
We can’t forget about the newest Jet, Braylon Edwards, who should be on the field and provide a lift for Sanchez as he is reunited with his old friend. The two had good chemistry in their two seasons together and Edwards should provide a much needed boost to the receiving corps. Look for Sanchez to look Edwards’ way even more as Dustin Keller and Stephen Hill are doubtful for the game.
Tim Tebow is suiting up to be the second-string quarterback and Rex Ryan said Friday that Tebow could see time in the Wild Cat formation on Monday. Of course, take everything said about Tebow this season with a grain of salt. Edge: Even
Tennessee Offense vs. New York Defense
Gang Green’s defense has looked good in recent weeks against lower competition, and the Jake Locker-led Titans are just that. In Tennessee’s past three games Locker is solely responsible for nine turnovers, seven interceptions and two lost fumbles. That’s good news for a Jets defense that has tallied three interceptions in the last two games.
Of course, the main focus of New York’s defense will be Chris Johnson, an electric runner who has had highs and lows this season but has the ability to run away from any defense. Johnson has four games this season of over 125 yards but also has six games under 52 yards.
New York was gashed in Jacksonville last week by third-string back Montell Owens to the tune of 91 yards on just 14 carries. The Jets can afford to give up another good game if they get ahead early and force the Titans to throw more often against their third ranked pass defense.
Ryan should be focused on shutting down Johnson, and committing everyone to the run and trusting the secondary to do its job would be the way to go. Antonio Cromartie and company should be able to neutralize a less-than-impressive passing attack. Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples will really have their hands full trying to contain the elusive Johnson. Backs like this usually give the Jets issues because of the lack of speed in the line backing corps to contain on the outside. Edge: Jets
Rob Bironas is having another solid season, he’s hit over 80 percent of his kicks and is perfect inside of 40 yards. He’s accurate and can hit from 50-plus. Nick Folk has struggled in recent weeks but has come up in big spots, so I’m not concerned with him kicking if the game is on the line. The Titans are among the league leaders in punting, something they will probably take advantage of today.
Tennessee is second in the league in kick-off returns, and that could cause the Jets’ mistake-prone special teams unit some huge problems. Edge: Titans
RB: Chris Johnson, Shonn Greene, Bilal Powell
I’d Rather Not Starts:
QB: Jake Locker, Mark Sanchez
WR: Kenny Britt, Jeremy Kerley
Hit or Miss Fantasy Start of the Week
WR: Braylon Edwards
Notes: The Jets have been running so much that even Powell is worth the start in a deeper league. He will get 15-plus carries and could get a touchdown. Neither QB is impressive, but sometimes their receivers do well… proceed with caution though. A part of me really thinks Sanchez will benefit from Edwards, so he is my pick this week.
Prediction: New York Jets (+2) 23 Tennessee Titans 16
The Jets are playing with a level of desperation that not many teams play with at this point in the season. This is when the Jets show us that they are either serious about fighting for the playoffs or are just the circus so many people thought. Both teams should be able to run wherever the want, but it’s obviously easier/safer to trust the Jets defense over the Titans. The predicted score indicates it will be close, similar to last week against Jacksonville, but the Jets should be in control, they just like playing close games.
Follow Dan Rodgers on Twitter: @dhrodgers52
Stats and information courtesy of ESPN.com
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