The Tennessee Titans (5-6) can’t seem to figure out who they are. Three weeks ago, they beat the Patriots by 24 and everyone thought they were on their way to contention in the AFC. The last two games, they have lost to two division rivals by a combined 45 points. Now, they are in a position where they will most likely have to win out to make the playoffs. Their first test comes against the New York Jets (3-8) at home. This seems like one the Titans should pull out, but with this team you never know.
Time: 4:05 pm ET
Place: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee
TV: CBS, Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon
Offensive Player to Watch: QB Marcus Mariota
Since the bye, Marcus Mariota has been much improved. He has 6 TDs and just 1 INT in the 3.5 games he has played. Last week, he had one of his better games of the year. He had 2 TDs and a completion percentage over 95%. However, the team lost by 17. Mariota will need to play well again if he wants to take this team back to the playoffs. It seems like he has finally started to get healthy and is looking like Titans’ fans have hoped he would for the last two seasons. If Mariota is hitting his stride now, he is hitting it at the right time as Tennessee enters the last month of the season.
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Defensive Player to Watch: ILB Wesley Woodyard
The Titans’ run defense struggled mightily against the Texans last week, giving up close to 300 yards on the ground. Wesley Woodyard has been as consistent as you can be over the past few seasons and is key for the Titans to stop the run. He is the leader of this defense and needs to step up and help this young unit that has given up 72 points in the last two games. Woodyard may not be the problem, but he needs to lead by example for the young inside linebackers on the team, Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans. The Jets don’t have a prolific passing game, so it will be important to stop Isaiah Crowell and Elijah McGuire on the ground.
Matchup to Watch: Titans’ Running Game vs. Jets’ Front Seven
The Titans were expected to have one of the best backfields in the league this year with Dion Lewis joining Derrick Henry. However, both have been somewhat of a disappointment. It could be that the offensive line isn’t opening holes or that the running backs aren’t making plays, but they have struggled for most of the year. Tennessee will need to run against a solid New York front seven including Leonard Williams and former Titan Avery Williamson. Tennessee hasn’t been able to establish the run either of the last two games. They need to force the Jets to respect the run game in order to make it easier on Mariota in the passing game.
Tennessee needs this more as the Jets are looking towards April and the draft. The Titans should come out in desperation mode on Sunday and get the win. They also seem to play much better inside Nissan Stadium where the team is 3-1 this season opposed to 2-5 away from Nashville. The Titans keep their postseason hopes alive and get back to .500.
Titans 24 Jets 13
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