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Preview: Tennessee Titans vs. New York Jets

2:19 PM, Dec 17, 2012   |    comments
Tennessee Titans
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By Jim Wyatt, The Tennessean

TITANS (4-9) vs. JETS (6-7)


When: 7:30 p.m. Monday | Where: LP Field (69,143), natural grass
TV: ESPN and WKRN-2 | Radio: 104.5-FM
Line: Titans by 1 | Titans-Jets series: Titans lead 22-17
Last week: Titans lost to Colts 27-23; Jets beat Jaguars 17-10
Last meeting: Jets beat Titans 24-17 on Sept. 27, 2009.

GAME NIGHT AT LP FIELD

Weather: Partly cloudy, low of 40.
National anthem: Chris August.
Honorary 12th Titan: 2012 FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker.
Halftime: Bridgestone Performance Moment finals. One fan will win 2013 Toyota Sienna.
Promotional giveaway: Pom-poms sponsored by O'Charley's.

KEY MATCHUPS

Titans CB Alterraun Verner vs. Jets WR Braylon Edwards
The Titans faced Edwards in the preseason when he was with the Seahawks. He rejoined the Jets this week and should see action. The Titans will try to keep Edwards from using his 6-foot-3, 214-pound body to post up for touchdowns. Verner is listed as 5-10, 187.
Titans C Kevin Matthews vs. Jets DL Muhammad Wilkerson
Wilkerson lines up in various places along the front. He's also been New York's most productive defensive lineman, with 76 tackles and a team-high four sacks. Matthews will get his second straight start at center thanks to the offensive line's injury-forced shuffling.
Titans WR Kenny Britt vs. Jets CB Antonio Cromartie
Britt proved last week he's capable of making plays even when his knees are still hurting a bit. With his big frame, he's tough to cover in one-on-one situations. The Jets have a physical veteran cornerback in Cromartie, who's having a solid season.

WHO HAS THE EDGE?

Quarterback
Neither quarterback has played well of late. Jake Locker and Mark Sanchez have torpedoed their teams with mistakes. The Titans are still believes in Locker, in large part because his ability outside the pocket presents a threat to defenses, but how will he handle his first appearance on Monday Night Football? Edge: Titans
Running back
Chris Johnson's progress has slowed down as he continues to lose offensive linemen to injuries. After a great stretch, he has only 95 yards the past two games combined. Shonn Greene is a strong runner and he's been forced to handle more carries in recent weeks because New York's passing game has struggled. He's averaging only 3.8 yards per carry, but he's capable of grinding out tough gains. Edge: Titans
Wide receiver/tight end
The Jets welcomed back Braylon Edwards this week and he's expected to be the No. 3 receiver in a banged-up corps. Jeremy Kerley has emerged as the top receiver for the Jets. The Titans are inconsistent, but Kenny Britt appears poised for a strong finish and rookie Kendall Wright has been productive. Losing tight end Jared Cook (shoulder) was a big blow for the passing offense. Edge: Titans
Offensive line
Unlike the Titans, the Jets have enjoyed stability here. Left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson and center Nick Mangold are the anchors for a group that has been especially good in the run game. The injury-ravaged Titans played well in pass protection last week but they are struggling in the run game. Blame the rapid flurry of injury-related shufflings of recent weeks. Edge: Jets
Defensive line
The Titans have talent, so it's curious why they haven't put up bigger numbers. Derrick Morgan is coming off arguably his most impressive game of the season, while fellow defensive end Kamerion Wimbley (who has dealt with a toe injury) pretty much went unnoticed. Defensive tackle Karl Klug looks poised to end the year on a high note. Muhammad Wilkerson leads the Jets with four sacks, and he also has 76 stops. The Jets rely on their linemen to stuff the run more than rush the quarterback. Even
Linebacker
David Harris has a team-leading 116 tackles along with three sacks. He's the best of a bunch that also includes Bart Scott, who has a bad toe. The Jets haven't made enough game-changing plays, though. The Titans have missed middle linebacker Colin McCarthy, but second-year pro Akeem Ayers is a developing star and rookie Zach Brown has made plays. Veteran Will Witherspoon played a great game last week. Edge: Jets
Secondary
The Jets have only 11 interceptions, probably because the defense isn't the same without cornerback Darrelle Revis, who is on injured reserve. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie, safety LaRon Landry and safety Yeremiah Bell are quality players, however. The Titans secondary has settled down and is playing better recently. But with only 12 interceptions in 13 games, the group has missed some chances. Edge: Jets
Special teams
Kickers Rob Bironas of the Titans (24-of-29) and Nick Folk of the Jets (16-of-21) have been consistent overall, although Titans punter Brett Kern has outperformed counterpart Robert Malone. Kern is averaging 48.9 yards per punt, compared to 46.4 for Malone. The Jets have made a number of miscues on special teams recently. Kick returner Joe McKnight presents a threat, however. Edge: Titans
Coaching
Neither Rex Ryan nor Mike Munchak has been able to locate any magic this season for his respective team. Their squads have been inconsistent, unable to get on any sort of worthwhile winning streaks. Look for Ryan's defense to try and confuse Locker with a number of looks. How will Titans offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains respond? And can Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray prolong Sanchez's funk? Even
Intangibles
Unlike the Titans, the Jets still have a pulse in the playoff race. The Jets have a two-game winning streak, but their offense remains a mess. The Titans played with more spunk last week, and are playing at home in their first Monday night game in some time, but can they limit their mistakes? Edge: Titans

WHO'S HOT

Titans WR Kenny Britt. He turned in the best game of 2012 last week with eight catches for 143 yards against the Colts. It looks like he may finally be getting past his ACL surgery of a year ago.
Jets RB Shonn Greene. The Jets have leaned on Greene more often recently, and he's taking advantage of the opportunities, averaging 84 yards over the past three games. He has 883 yards on the season.

WHO'S NOT

Titans QB Jake Locker. The second-year pro and first-year starter has committed nine turnovers (seven interceptions, two fumbles) in the past three games. He threw an interception from his own 1-yard line against the Colts. The Titans hope he's gotten the mistakes out of his system.
Jets QB Matt Sanchez. He has been a mess recently, with six turnovers in the past three games. How bad have things been? He fumbled against the Patriots after running into the rear end of a teammate. Not good.

INJURY REPORT

Titans: LB Colin McCarthy (concussion), DE Scott Solomon (knee) and WR Damian Williams (hamstring) are out. WR Kenny Britt (knee), DT Jurrell Casey (knee), S Michael Griffin (neck), RB Chris Johnson (ankle), QB Jake Locker (left shoulder), T Michael Roos (knee) and DE Kamerion Wimbley (toe) are probable.
Jets: TE Dustin Keller (ankle), WR Stephen Hill (knee), DE Aaron Berry (hamstring) and LB Bryan Thomas (chest) are doubtful. WR Clyde Gates (concussion), DL Sione Pouha (low back) and WR Braylon Edwards (hamstring) are questionable. RB Bilal Powell (shoulder/toe), DL Kendrick Ellis (knee), QB Mark Sanchez (low back), OL Matt Slauson (knee), TE Jeff Cumberland (wrist), LB Calvin Pace (shoulder), OL Nick Mangold (shoulder), LB Bart Scott (toe), OL Brandon Moore (hip), DB LaRon Landry (heel), RB Joe McKnight (ankle), QB Tim Tebow (ribs), DL Damon Harrison (ankle) and LB Ricky Sapp (ankle) are probable.
BY THE NUMBERS

4-1 Titans record in their last five Monday night games.
10-2 Jets record when QB Matt Sanchez's passer rating is 100-plus.
113 Titans RB Chris Johnson's average in three career Monday night games.
6-0 Jets record when RB Shonn Greene has 100-plus rushing yards.
4 Interceptions for Jets CB Antonio Cromartie in his last four Monday night games.
75 Consecutive games with at least one reception for Titans WR Nate Washington.
TENNESSEAN PREDICTIONS

Jim Wyatt-Titans 24, Jets 20 Titans snap three-game losing streak as Jake Locker shines.
John Glennon-Titans 20, Jets 17 It won't be pretty, but Titans find a way to snap three-game skid.
David Climer-Titans 13, Jets 10 Titans finally get a little relief.

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