Tale of the tape: Jets at Titans
Take a quick glance at the tale of the tape for Monday night’s showdown between the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans.
Mark Sanchez has continued to struggle despite less-than-stellar competition. The Jets' embattled quarterback is 22 of 40 for 208 yards with three interceptions and a fumble over the last two games. With Sanchez continuing to flounder, New York finally reverted to its preseason promise of a ground-and-pound attack in last week's 17-10 win at Jacksonville. Bilal Powell rushed for 78 yards and a TD on 19 carries and Shonn Greene had 77 yards and a score on 20 rushes. New York's receiving corps has been decimated by injuries, leading to the decision to bring back well-traveled veteran Braylon Edwards (hamstring) earlier this week. He is probable to suit up Monday night.
Titans QB Jake Locker missed five games earlier in the season due to injury and he has shown little progression since returning to the lineup. The second-year QB has thrown seven interceptions in the past three games, including one from his own end zone that helped wipe out Tennessee's 13-point halftime lead against Indianapolis a week ago. Running back Chris Johnson has rushed for 1,000 yards for five straight seasons, but is averaging only 3.3 yards per carry in the last three games. Tight end Jared Cook, the team's second-leading receiver, is done for the season after suffering a torn rotator cuff in last week's game.
The Jets' defense has permitted a combined 16 points in the last two games after getting shredded for 49 by New England on Thanksgiving night. But keep in mind those dominant performances the past two weeks were against the NFL’s two worst offenses (Arizona, Jacksonville).
The Titans put together a dominant defensive first half — holding the Colts to 111 total yards, sacking Andrew Luck three times last week. The Tennessee stop unit limited the league’s third-best offense at the time to 269 yards and 4-of-12 third-down conversions. It also scored a touchdown. The Titans allow an average of 127 rushing yards, tied for 23rd in the league.
The Jets rank eighth in opponents’ kickoff-return average and lead the league with 22 opponents’ drives starting inside their own 20. Kicker Nick Folk has made only 76 percent of his field goal attempts this season, ranking him 32nd in the league in that category.
Titans return specialist Darius Reynaud enjoyed success early in the season, but teams are now avoiding him. He returned just one punt for 14 yards in last week’s loss to the Colts and was ripped by the local media for his poor decision-making the week before against Houston. Rob Bironas and Brett Kern are one of the better kicking/punting duos in the league.
Word on the street
“Big, talented, physical guy (Locker). Almost has a mentality of a running back when he takes off with it. Obviously, he’s a great athlete, he has a big arm. He’s a guy, certainly, you have to worry about. Not only with his arm, but his scrambling ability as well.” – Jets head coach Rex Ryan on Jake Locker.
“We have a young quarterback and most teams have to decide, do we want to try to confuse him and go after him, or make him read coverage? I'm sure they'll do a little bit of both.” – Titans head coach Mike Munchak on what he expects from the Jets defense.