New York Jets: Key Matchup vs. Titans

By Raymond Mencke
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets face another must win this Monday night when they hit the road to take on the Tennessee Titans.  If the Jets have any shot of making the postseason they have to win all their three remaining games.  If the Jets have any chance of winning, they will need a big game from their tackles.

D’Brickashaw Ferguson is having a Pro Bowl season as he’s the only tackle in the game who has not allowed a sack.  According to Pro Football Focus, he has only allowed 14 pressures in 385 pass blocking attempts which ranks him third in the NFL.  The only tackles ahead of him are Joe Thomas of Cleveland and Ryan Clady of Denver.

Austin Howard is in his first season as a starter after the team traded former right tackle Wayne Hunter to the St. Louis Rams in the preseason.  Howard struggled earlier in the year but as recently as week 13 he was ranked fifth in the NFL in run blocking as a right guard.  This stat comes from Pro Football Focus.  Howard has been one of the Jets best finds as he was claimed off the practice squad of the Baltimore Ravens last season.  Before this season, he had only played in four games as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010.  Howard, Ferguson and Nick Mangold should be the core of the Jets offensive line for years to come.

The Titans don’t have a fierce pass rush as they only have 26 on the season but they have two of the better ends in the league right now.  The Titans leading sacker is Kamerion Wimbley who has five on the year.  Wimbley is in his first season with the team after coming over from the Oakland Raiders.  Wimbley has generated 18 quarterback pressures in 93 attempts which places him tenth in the NFL.

The bigger rushing threat to the Jets could be defensive end Derrick Morgan.  Morgan is in his third season out of Georgia Tech.  Morgan has 47 tackles, 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble on the year.  Morgan is third in the NFL in pressures with 24 only trailing Cameron Wake and Von Miller.

If the Jets want to win this game, it is imperative for them to run the ball and stay out of third and long situations.  The Titans give up 127 rushing yards a game so look for Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell to get plenty of work.  If Ferguson and Howard can contain the Titans pass rushers the Jets should win this game and even their record to 7-7.

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