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NFL New York Jets

5 Things to Look for in New York Jets vs Tennessee Titans Week 4 Contest

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5 Things to Look for in New York Jets vs Tennessee Titans Week 4 Contest

NYJ
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

After holding on to defeat the Buffalo Bills in Week 3, New York Jets surprisingly stand at 2-1. There were several points that come from this victory. Certain areas where they have struggled recently looked to be strengths. Their front seven did a tremendous job by getting to quarterback EJ Manuel. Bilal Powell erupted for a career-high 149 yards. Throwing the football proved last season to be a well documented issue.

Gang Green’s rookie signal caller had tremendous flashes against Buffalo. Protection from their offensive line actually appears solid after performing so poorly in 2012. Getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks was an issue for around a decade. New York’s edge rushers would get blocked by offensive lineman. Now they seem to have a quicker burst off the line of scrimmage. The Tennessee Titans host them on Sunday and are in sort of a similar situation. Outside expectations also did not treat Tennessee too well. Previewing this game offers interesting talent from an offensive perspective. An athletic quarterback who has a big-time arm looks to continue his development.

Of course a dynamic running back leads their attack. Despite their shortcomings on defense last year, there has been improvement so far in 2013. In addition to having talent on the ground, balance exists. Three gifted receivers possess dynamic ability Kendall Wright brings great promise as a former first-round selection. Nate Washington brings outside speed to stretch defenses. There remains great ability in receiver Kenny Britt but he has well documented personal issues. Here are five things to look for in this matchup.

Nick Mamary is a New York Jets writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @NickMamary1, “Like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Jets' Run Defense vs Chris Johnson

CJ
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

During the last six years, Tennessee has fielded one of football’s most exciting players in running back Chris Johnson. So far, he has been solid, averaging over 85 yards per game. Johnson did not score during his first three games though. Players like Sheldon Richardson and David Harris can help clog the middle.

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4. Will the Jets’ Offense Thrive Again?

Jets
Robert Deutsch-USA Today Sports

Last week against Buffalo resulted in Gang Green collecting 513 combined yards. This kind of explosiveness represents something that was missing last year. If Stephen Hill produces similar results, this would demonstrate great progress. Santonio Holmes appeared closer to once again being a dangerous playmaker. Alterraun Verner is an underrated corner who already has two interceptions through three games. Jason McCourty also holds up well in pass coverage.

On the ground, Powell looks to prove last week was not a fluke. Meanwhile, Chris Ivory will try to become a more consistent option.

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3. Titan’s Receivers Against Jets’ Defensive Backs

DBS
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

As mentioned above, Tennessee boasts some exciting players. They are going against three cornerbacks in Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson and Dee Milliner, who can all make plays. Milliner continues his development weekly. There needs to be more self control from Wilson. Cromartie struggles at times with quicker players. He is overall a very good player though.

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2. Containing Jake Locker

Locker
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Locker seems to have improved as a passer, at least, early in the season. So far, his stats include an impressive three touchdowns without an interception. On 12 carries, Locker averages 6.8 yards per rushing attempt. His dual-threat ability often presents issues. New York struggled mightily last season in their Week 15 loss. Improved athleticism on the defensive line should help. Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples will come after him all game.

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1. Can Geno Smith Repeat Last Week’s Performance?

Geno
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

There were dynamic pass plays on Sunday which had not been common recently from previous signal caller Mark Sanchez. Big plays to Holmes and Hill provide hope. Smith completed 16 of 29 passes with two touchdowns. Yes, two interceptions are concerning but they also serve as a learning opportunity. If decision-making improves and I believe it will then he shows much other strength.