Five games left in the season and the Jets will look to right the ship against Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans. Five losses in a row has left the locker room puzzled searching for answers while the reality is, both sides of the ball are simply not getting it done.
The Jets offense will have another test Sunday against a Titans team that hangs their hat on their defense. They rank top 10 in total points, passing yards, and yards per game. On the flip side the Jets have failed to reach 20 points in their past five contests.
Over Tennessee’s past two games they have surrendered 38 and 34 points to division rival Indianapolis and Houston. Last week they let Houston runningback Lamar Miller explode for 162 yards on just 12 carries, including a 97-yard run, the longest since Miller ran for 97 back in 2014. The Titans’ defense was continually gashed all night by Houston in both the pass and run games.
Coming into this matchup both teams are still figuring out how they should run their offense. The Titans use a dual back set with both Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry, but neither has really proven to be effective consistently throughout the season. Quarterback Marcus Mariota has plateaued somewhat in his fourth season, throwing for just nine touchdowns and six interceptions across 10 games. On the outside their most prolific threat is wideout Corey Davis, who has 702 yards and 3 touchdowns in his sophomore campaign.
While it looks like the Jets hopes of making the playoffs are slim to none, the Titans are on their last stand. With the Texans pulling away from the NFC South, the Titans will have to everything in their power to get a win against New York and keep their playoff hopes alive.
When: Sunday, December 2, 4:05pm CBS
Where: Nissan Stadium
Series: Tennessee leads 24-19-1
Last Meeting: New York 30, Tennessee 8
Last Jets Win: 12/13/2015 New York 30, Tennessee 8
Injury Report: Jets: DNP- Marcus Maye (shoulder/thumb) Limited Practice- Robby Anderson (Ankle), Trenton Cannon (hamstring), Sam Darnold (foot), Josh McCown (Hand, Back), Andre Roberts (foot)/ Full Practice: Kelvin Beachum (knee), Morris Claiborne (shoulder), Quincy Enunwa (ankle), Spencer Long (knee/finger), Steve McLendon (ankle), Eric Tomlinson (elbow)
Titans: DNP- Dane Cruikshank (knee), David Fluellen (knee) Limited: Will Compton (hamstring) Full Practice: Malcolm Butler (concussion), Adoree’ Jackson (knee), Josh Kline (shoulder), Taylor Lewan (ankle), Marcus Mariota (abdomen), Tajae Sharpe (ankle), Taywan Taylor (foot)
Jets Rankings 2018: Offense: Points per game 20.1 (26th), Rushing 104.3 (22nd), Passing 198.6 (29th), Yards Per Game 302.9 (29th), Third Down% 30.1 (30th)/ Defense: Points per game 30.1 (30th), Rushing, 128.2 (27th), Passing, 245.8 (16th), Yards per game: 374 (21st), Third Down % 34.0% (2nd)
Titans Rankings 2018: Offense Points per game, 17.7 (29th), Rushing, 111.1 (19th), Passing, 190.6 (30th), Yards per game, 301.7 (30th), Third Down, 42.3(11th)/ Defense: Points per game, 20.3 (6th), Rushing, 116.5 (17th), Passing, 230 (8th), Yards per game, 346.5 (10th), Third down %, 39.7 (19th)
Keys to the game:
Force Turnovers: The Jets have not done themselves any favors over the past five games by not forcing any turnovers, ultimately leading to losses. Their offense simply isn’t in a position now where they can march down the field at will, so they will need as much help from the defense as possible. Mariota is not an all pro quarterback, and has shown his inefficiencies at times, especially turning the ball over. The Jets have just 10 interceptions on the season, four of them coming in week one. Switching the field and giving some easy looks for the offense is just what this team needs right now.
Hit The Big Play: The biggest play in Tennessee’s loss to Houston last week was a 97 yard touchdown by Lamar Miller, who had a chance of being tackled on three separate occasions during his run. It put the Texans up 10 and wiped out the confidence of the Titans for the rest of the game. Offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates needs to get creative and hope that one of his look’s hits for a homerun. One area the Jets are lacking in right now is confidence, especially offensively. A big gashing play might be exactly what the doctor ordered to cure the Jets offensive woes.
Maintain Consistency: Looking back at the tape of last week’s loss and Jet fans will find that they looked like a totally different team in the second half. The defense got lazy, the offense continued to struggle, and the Jets were outscored 17-3 to put the game away. Maintaining a consistent game of football through four quarters has been hard for Gang Green. Even when they lost to the Browns, the first three quarters looked fine until Baker Mayfield started taking over. Playing a full consistent game starts with the players and rings through the coaches. A half-executed game will send the Jets home staring at a 3-9 record.
X-Factor: Sam Darnold (if he plays). If reports about Sam Darnold possibly playing this Sunday are true, then this will be the perfect test for him to handle. With the Jets losing their past five games, a win driven by the 21-year-old would be a huge confidence boost to the Jets and Sam as a young quarterback. Oftentimes leading by example will motivate other teammates. Darnold has been inconsistent in his first season but rounding off the final quarter of the season strong is the progression the Jets want to see the most.
Prediction: New York 13, Tennessee 20. The Jets have been outcoached in almost every game this season, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon. Until there are any substantial changes to the philosophy and play calling, expect the Jets to struggle against the formidable Titans defense. A loss would set them at 3-9, almost ensuring them a top five draft pick in the 2019 draft.