Summary & Pick
Here’s a matchup featuring two teams who, last week, combined to have 31 penalties for 284 yards. The Jets had 20 penalties for 168 yards. The Titans had 11 penalties for 116 yards. Both teams overcame the sloppiness en route to their second victory in three weeks.
Will the Jets or Titans exit Week 4 with a 3-1 record? Last season, the Titans won a Monday Night Football battle, 14-10. Jake Locker completed 13-of-22 passes for 149 yards. Mark Sanchez threw four interceptions. This season, second-round pick Geno Smith has replaced him. Through three games, Smith has completed approximately 54 percent of his passes with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 3-to-6.
Each team has a lot of similarities. They lean on their front sevens and ground games. They have young and unproven quarterbacks. The Titans will challenge the team that plays the style of football that Mike Munchak would love his team to play.
Can the Jets contain Chris Johnson? Despite a 94-yard touchdown run in last season’s meeting, Johnson was held to 28 yards on his other 20 attempts. This season, the Jets are one of six teams who are allowing fewer than 80 rushing yards per game. They’re allowing a 3.2 yards-per-carry average. All of their games have been close. Therefore, that statistic isn’t misleading from blowouts (e.g. Denver Broncos).
Has Locker turned the corner? How much of his strong performance was due to facing a San Diego Chargers defense that had surrendered an NFL-worst 370 yards per game before that? Will Titans offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains have enough confidence to open up a pass-heavy offense against the Jets defense, especially with the Titans’ pass-blocking issues?
If the Titans take an early lead, then expect another one of those “shutdown mode” offensive games. The Titans will try to eat clock and eliminate opportunities for the Jets offense. They’re not risking anything against the Jets’ front seven. Shonn Greene will miss this game after having a knee scope from about two weeks ago. That could hurt in this game, although the Titans still have Jackie Battle for short-yardage runs.
Expect a tough game. Don’t let ESPN or anybody mislead you: the Jets aren’t great, but they aren’t that bad. They’ll always remain competitive as long as Rex Ryan coaches that defense.They’ll have their duds every now and then, however, they’ll also pull off their upsets.
Even if the Titans enjoy a double-digit victory, expect something closer to 17-3ish, not 27-13ish. With that said, the Titans should win as long as they protect the football—and Locker. That’s probably the No. 1 concern for the Titans, who’ve had some pass-blocking deficiencies in the interior of their offensive line. Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson could exploit players like Rob Turner (center) and Chance Warmack (right guard).
I’m going with a Titans victory, either 13-7 or 10-6.
New York Jets at Tennessee Titans (-3.5): The Pick
Tennessee Titans 13
New York Jets 7