For second straight week the New York Jets will have a chance to show the country exactly what they are made of. After beating their arch rival New England Patriots 34-31 in overtime last Thursday, Gang Green will try to knock off the NFL’s only unbeaten team when they travel to Tennessee to play the 10-0 Titans.
“It's going to be big. We had one big (test) to go in to New England and beat those guys. It was big for the team,” said Jets CB Ty Law. “We hope to accomplish the same type of thing when we go to Tennessee. They are the only undefeated team left in the game. This can do a lot for our team, our mentality, our everything. We are taking this game very seriously and we know what's at stake if we win. It can put us ahead of the pack.”
Jets QB Brett Favre, who knows what it takes to win and be successful in this league, echoed the statements of the Jets latest roster addition.
“Every week for us is a measuring stick,” said Favre. “It seems like every week the games get bigger and bigger. That's what happens when you win; you put yourself in this position. It's a measuring stick for us to find out who we are and what we're capable of doing.”
But as Jets finally realize what they are capable of doing, Titans QB Kerry Collins said his team is still pondering about how good they can really be. Despite being 10-0 with their backup quarterback leading the way and having a defense that ranks in the top 10 in many of major statistical categories, Collins believes their best football is yet to come.
“I think our best football is still out there,” said Collins. “Granted we found ways to win but I don’t and I don’t think anyone in this locker room believes we have played the complete game. And that’s good because I think it keeps us hungry and it keeps us motivated.”
Jets CB Darrelle Revis vs. Titans WR Justin Gage
In the past two games Gage has been Collins favorite receiver. In last week’s win over Jacksonville, Gage caught four passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns. Gage also scored a touchdown in Tennessee’s Week 10 win over Chicago. He will probably draw Jets CB Darrelle Revis, who according to fellow CB Ty Law, is becoming the shutdown corner everybody thought he would. Revis on Gage would be a favorable matchup for Gang Green, if the Jets choose to go that way.
Jets Offense vs. Titans Defense
If the Jets plan on winning Sunday, they will have to do two things successfully. Their offensive line will have to play their best game of the season as they will need to give Favre time to throw the ball when he drops back to pass. The second thing is not to forget what has made them so successful this season and that is the running game and most importantly RB Thomas Jones. Jones, who leads the AFC in rushing yards with 854 and has tied a career high nine rushing touchdowns, knows that the Titans defense is as good as advertised even though they might be without CB Nick Harper and DE Javon Kearse.
“They are physical. They have a lot of big guys. They have played together for a long time,” said Jones. “They understand their defensive scheme and what they are trying to accomplish. They are definitely one of the best defenses in the league and they are showing it. They are 10-0. A lot of people haven’t had too much success on them.”
Jets Defense vs. Titans Offense
The Jets know the task at hand on defense. During the work week head coach Eric Mangini pointed out how explosive the Titans are out of the backfield. RB Chris Johnson has the ability to break a long run anywhere on the field and then they also have RB LenDale White (6’1”, 231) as a change of pace. If NT Kris Jenkins can disrupt the run game and force QB Kerry Collins to be one dimensional, it should open up opportunities for the Jets secondary to create turnovers. Collins, who has done a good job taking care of the ball and managing each game for the Titans this season, has been prone to throwing interceptions earlier in his career.
Jets Special Teams vs. Titans Special Teams
The Titans probably have to best kickers in the NFL, according to Mangini. K Rob Bironas has made 86% of his field goal attempts and this week Mangini brought up how he was eight-for-eight (including a 60-yarder) in a game last season. P Craig Hentrich, who averages a net of 37 yards per punts, is tied for the league lead in punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line with 22. The Jets return teams will be important as field position will be a deciding factor on who wins Sunday’s game.
The Bottom Line
Just like last week, the Jets fully understand what a win against the Titans would mean. Not only will they still have a one game lead in the AFC East but with a win they would have to be considered a strong playoff contender. But also like last week against New England they know coming out with a win against won’t be an easy task. If the Jets can control DT Albert Haynesworth and the rest of the Titans defensive line, they should be in a position to win the game.
Prediction: Jets 24, Titans 21 in OT
Game time is at 1:00 PM local time on CBS. Local radio is on 1050 AM ESPN and 103.9 WRCN Long Island. Be sure to log on to JI after the game for a complete recap!
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