Tale Of The Tape: New York Jets At Tennessee Titans
- QuarterbackGeno Smith has done enough to keep the Jets’ heads above water. While he needs quite a bit of polish to become the kind of quarterback who plays consistently each week, Smith is not afraid to compete. He threw for 331 yards and two touchdowns against the Bills and he bounced back from earlier mistakes to throw the game-winning touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.Jake Locker took an important step in his development with last week’s come-from-behind win over the San Diego Chargers. He led the team down the field in the final minutes and threw a superb touchdown pass to Justin Hunter that secured the victory for the Titans. Locker seemed to thrive when he found himself in the must-produce series and that’s a good thing for the Titans.
- OffenseThe Jets still want to ground-and-pound when they can and they got a shocking 149-yard performance from Bilal Powell against the Bills in Week Three. While they can’t count on that each week, Powell is going to make opponents respect the run. The Jets don’t have an impressive receiving crew, but Santonio Holmes can get open and run well after the catch.Explosive Chris Johnson remains an important part of the Tennessee offense. He could have a big game in trying to match what the Jets’ Powell did last week. Nate Washington is coming off an explosive 131-yard receiving game against the Chargers and he is Locker’s top receiver. Kendall Wright is a complementary receiver who can get open on third-down plays.
- DefenseRex Ryan can still fire up his defense. The Jets have been solid on defense through the first three games and they have kept opponents from stringing long drives together. Antonio Cromartie has shown that he remains an outstanding cover man, while Muhammad Wilkerson is coming off a monster game against the Bills in which he had 6 tackles, 2.0 sacks and a forced fumble.The Titans don’t have a lot of big names on defense, but Mike Munchak’s team is running hard to the ball and they are quite aggressive in their gang tackling. Middle linebacker Moise Fokou plays with determination and speed and he had eight tackles in the win over the Chargers. Bernard Pollard is a big hitter from the strong safety position who helps set the tone.
- Special TeamsThe Jets’ kick coverage has been solid in the early going. That’s a must for a team that does not produce consistently on offense. Nick Folk is a decent kicker, but he does not have great leg strength. Ryan Quigley gets good height on his punts and keeps opponent from setting up long returns.Darius Reynaud has good speed and he can be a decent returner. While Rob Bironas missed a field goal attempt against the Chargers, he is a very solid kicker and Munchak has confidence in him. Brett Kern is one of the better punters in the league because he knows how to drop the ball inside the 20.
This game appears to be a dogfight between two limited teams that are both off to surprising 2-1 starts. The Titans have the better quarterback and the home field advantage, and that could be the difference. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor