Thursday, December 13, 2012
Three-point stance: Tennessee Titans
By Dan Riccio | ESPN Stats & Information
The Jets continue their steady climb in the AFC and find themselves within one game of the final playoff spot heading into Monday Night Football in Tennessee.
Gang Green has won back-to-back games for the first time this season and will take on the Titans who have given up the second-most points in the NFL.
While Mark Sanchez started the year with accuracy issues, in the last four games he has the second-best completion percentage among AFC starters.
He will face a defense that has allowed a completion rate of 67.8 percent to opponents which ranks last in the NFL.
The Jets will welcome back Braylon Edwards who has been the best deep threat receiver Sanchez has had with an average target depth of 15.5 yards downfield. The 10 touchdowns between them is more than Sanchez has with all active Jets receivers combined.
Here are three matchups to watch in Week 15:
1. Running back Chris Johnson has rushed for 1,000 yards for the fifth straight season to begin his career and leads the Titans who rank second in the AFC with 4.7 yards per rush.
The ground attack can be stopped when you consider the Titans rank last in the NFL in yards gained after contact per rush. It will be up to the Jets to contain, swarm and finish tackles.
As easy as that sounds, it can be difficult against the elusive Johnson who leads the AFC in rushing yards gained on plays when he is not contacted by a defender, including all four of his touchdowns.
2. The Jets have returned to the Rex Ryan roots of ground and pound with the most rushing attempts in the NFL in winning three of their last four games.
Gang Green has scored all five of their rushing touchdowns over that stretch by running up the middle between center Nick Mangold and either guard. That leads the NFL along with the most rushing yards and yards after contact in that direction since Week 11.
The Titans will need to plug the middle, disrupt the backfield and add to their AFC-leading 52 tackles for loss to have success against the Jets.
3. With previous experience as a baseball prospect, Jake Locker has a very strong arm and leads qualified NFL passers in completion percentage on throws that traveled more than 20 yards in the air.
Locker has thrown a touchdown every 7.3 pass attempts on the deep ball, which leads the AFC, and the Titans are the only AFC team without a dropped pass on a 20+ yard throw this year.
The Jets meanwhile have been tested on the deep ball more often than any other team in the NFL.
Fortunately, their strength is a passing defense that ranks second in the AFC in both total passing yards allowed per game and Total QBR allowed on attempts of more than 20 yards.