Preview: Jets (2-1) vs. Titans (2-1)

The Jets look to have their first winning streak of the season as they travel to Nashville to take on the Tennessee Titans. Both teams finished 6-10 last season, and have matching 2-1 records to start this season.

Muhammad Wilkerson and the defensive line have a tough test in the rebuilt Titans offensive line.

Neither team was expected to factor much in the playoff race this season, but they’ve surprised so far. Strong defenses have been the story for the two. The Jets were supposed to have a good defense, but not this good. They’ve kept all three opposing quarterbacks to less than 50% passing, are tied for third in the NFL with 12 sacks, and have kept opposing running games to just 3.2 yards per rush, which ranks third in the league. For the Titans they ranked last in scoring defense last season. They imported reinstated defensive guru Gregg Williams, and signed Bernard Pollard in the offseason. Now they are tenth in the league, giving up an average of 18.7 points per game.

But Geno Smith has been improving each week. He is coming off his best week as a pro, passing for over 300 yards. And let’s not forget Bilal Powell rushed for nearly 150 yards averaging 5.5 yards a pop.

When: Sunday, September 29 2013,  4:05 pm EST (TV-CBS Radio ESPN)

Where: LP Field, Nashville, TN

Injury Report (As of Thursday):

Jets – DNP: T Oday Aboushi (knee), RB Chris Ivory (hamstring), LB Quinton Coples (ankle/scheduled day off), WR Santonio Holmes (foot/scheduled day off), CB Dee Milliner (hamstring) LMT: NT Kenrick Ellis (back), WR Clyde Gates (knee), TE Kellen Winslow (knee), DE Sheldon Richardson (shoulder).

Titans – DNP: LB Patrick Bailey (hamstring), WR Kenny Britt (neck, ribs), RB Shonn Greene (knee), DT Sammie Lee Hill (ankle), T David Stewart (calf), TE Delanie Walker (toe). LMT: LB Moise Fokou (neck), CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson (hamstring).

Game Keys:

Turnovers – The Titans are one of two offenses that have yet to turn the ball over. For as great as the Jets defense has been, they haven’t created many turnovers yet. Just one interception and one fumble recovery, and both came week one against the Bucs. Granted the refs haven’t helped out much.

The Trenches – The Jets defensive line has been the story so far this season. They’re going up against a Titans offensive line that added Alabama guard Chance Warmack in the draft, and signed Andy Levitre from the Bills. Chris Johnson has gotten off to a slow start for them, but averaged 4.7 yards per carry last week against the Chargers.

Bilal Powell – With the injury to Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell will be the workhorse for the Jets. He had a good game against the Bills, but will he be able to replicate it against the Titans this week? Another strong performance will help open up those deep shots that Marty Mornhinweg loves to take.

X-Factor:

Stephen Hill – Hill had one of his better games last week. It’s clear this offense is focusing on the pass, and having a legitimate deep threat across from Santonio Holmes would be a big boost to this offense and to Geno. In a game that will probably be low scoring, a strong performance from Hill could be the difference.

The Pick: The two teams have won games in similar fashions. All their games have been low scoring affairs, and both their losses were close ones to last season’s division champ. This will be another close game, but the Jets defense is better, and so is their running game.

Jets win 27-17

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