Before we go into this week’s game preview I would like to send out my thoughts and prayers to all of those impacted by the horrible tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. I cannot even begin to imagine how those families are coping with this senseless act.
Jets vs. Titans
On Monday night the New York Jets (6-7) take on the Tennessee Titans (4-9) at LP Field (8:30 p.m. EST). The Jets have won their last two games while the Titans have lost 3 in a row, including a demoralizing loss to the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday. Lets take a look at some of the keys to the game from the New York Jets perspective.
Sanchez must shine- In order for the Jets to win on Monday night the offense will have to make some big plays in the passing game. Quarterback Mark Sanchez must play with some fire and confidence, and keep the defense honest with some legitimate throws down the field. Sanchez must remain poised in the pocket and utilize all of his weapons. Lastly, Mark cannot turn over the ball which has become a weekly occurrence for the quarterback.
Play to win the game- Over the last two weeks the offensive play calling has been..well offensive. To say the game plan was vanilla is an understatement. This week offensive coordinator Tony Sparano must open up the playbook as the Jets cannot win the game by scoring less than 10 points. If it has come to the point that you are scared to call certain plays due to your struggling quarterback, well then that player should not be in the game. While the running game will be the foundation of the offense, there has to be shots taken down the field in order to keep the defense off balance.
Pass catchers must step up- The Jets wide receiver group is battered and bruised but as a unit they still must find ways to make some plays against an average Titans secondary (ranked 26th in the NFL). Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilens, and Jeff Cumberland must run consistent routes and get open for their struggling quarterback. There is a good chance that Braylon Edwards will play on Monday night, but it is tough to expect much after a limited week of practice. If anything Edwards can make an impact in the red zone.
Contain Chris Johnson- The first step in slowing down the Titans offense is to contain running back Chris Johnson (1,037 rushing yards, 4 tds). Johnson is an explosive playmaker that can take it to the house if he is given some space. The Jets defense must control the line of scrimmage and remain consistent in terms of tackling. Gang Green must also keep an eye on Johnson out of the backfield as he has 33 catches.
Lock down Locker- Tennessee quarterback Jake Locker does an excellent job of moving around the pocket and making plays with his feet. The Jets defense must control the edges and limit Locker’s scrambling ability. The more hits the Jets get on Jake, the better off they will be as the young signal caller has a propensity to throw big interceptions.
Solid secondary play- The Jets secondary is going to have their hands full with the Titans receiving group. Kenny Britt, Nate Washington, and Kendall Wright all have the ability to make some big plays in the passing game. There is a good chance that Antonio Cromartie will cover Britt, which means that the spotlight will be on Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster in terms of pass coverage.
I think that the bright lights of Monday night football will fuel both the Titans and their fan base. I expect a raucous crowd and for Tennessee to get off to a quick start offensively. The question is whether or not Mark Sanchez and the Jets offense will be able to overcome the early blow from the Titans.
The last two weeks the Jets have been fortunate as they have faced sub-par offensive teams. This week the team’s luck changes. Titans 24-13