The Tennessee Titans face the New York Jets at LP Field today, with the unusual late (3:05 PM) start. They're the only CBS game in the late window, so they're the telecast in, among other places, Fox team markets with the local team playing early.
No formal Enemy Intelligence this week, as I keep getting run over by trains when I think there's a light at the end of the tunnel. From watching last week's Jets game, Geno Smith is okay for a second-round rookie. With Marty Mornhiweg at offensive coordinator, they're not quite as run-heavy, but they're still not a team with a sustaining passing attack. Probably everyone who's written a preview of this game has said this, but they're really pretty similar teams, with quarterbacks who must be managed and manipulated, run games that are reasonably competent but not dominant, and defenses that have been fairly stout against the run and will be multiple in how they attack opposing passers, especially on third down.
My big concern about the Jets in the preseason was their lack of quality players in terms of who handles the ball, aside from the mercurial Santonio Holmes. That said, both Holmes and Stephen Hill pose specific threats for the Titans; Holmes is by far the best receiver playing in Nashville today, and the second-best the Titans have seen behind Andre Johnson. Hill is basically a somewhat more advanced, slightly bigger version of Justin Hunter. Smith at times was willing to throw the ball up and let him make a play on it, and Hill did so successfully against the Jets. That's how the Texans came back, and I expect to see the Jets try a couple downfield shots.
On defense, the front is very good. They're playing Sheldon Richardson a lot at 3-tech, which is where he fits. Muhammad Wilkerson is really good. They are more athletic than they were last year. I think they tend to use Antonio Cromarite as a movable guy, but I'm not sure where he'll play this week. Dawan Landry is more mobile than what they fielded last year, but I still think you can attack their safeties in space.
On the whole, though, I don't expect either team to move the ball with consistent success. Rather, the key to the game will be which team gets the random big plays-the interceptions, fumble recoveries, or random things where a back doesn't go down and rips off a 60 yard gain like Fred Jackson did last week. The Titans are apparently favored by 4 points; I'd have the line closer to the straight home edge of 3 points, maybe just 2.5, just because I don't see either team as interestingly better than the other.
Here are the inactives:
NEW YORK JETS: OL Oday Aboushi, G Will Campbell, OT Ben Ijalana, RB Chris Ivory, CB Dee Milliner, QB Brady Quinn, LB Ricky Sapp
TENNESSEE TITANS: LB Patrick Bailey, WR Kenny Britt, DE Lavar Edwards, RB Shonn Greene, DT Sammie Lee Hill, C Brian Schwenke, OT Byron Stingily
No surprises for the Jets. Milliner, the most important inactive, was ruled Out. He's only been okay from what I've seen. For the Titans, Bailey and Britt do not play after being listed as questionable, while Delanie Walker and Blidi Wreh-Wilson do. I wasn't sure about Wreh-Wilson, but none of the other three surprises me. Zaviar Gooden makes his season debut.
I'll be chiming in during the game on Twitter, so follow me there if you wish. Recap after the game, and more coverage during the week if I actually have time to write some for a change.