Prior to the season, not many people figured the Week 4 matchup between the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans would feature two 2-1 teams. But stout defenses, solid rushing attacks and sound play from the young quarterbacks have led the teams to early-season winning records.
The Jets are coming off a strong but a penalty-ridden contest that saw them fight off the Buffalo Bills thanks in part to some fourth-quarter heroics from Geno Smith. The Titans, meanwhile, ousted the San Diego Chargers with a last-minute scoring drive manufactured by Jake Locker.
Whichever team comes out on top in this late-afternoon AFC bout will be taken seriously going into the second quarter of the season.
Flag exhibition. The Jets were penalized a franchise-record 20 times last week, which prompted coach Rex Ryan to re-install a push-up system. Gang Green gave up eight first downs to penalties and cannot afford to do that against the Titans. Tennessee hasn't been squeaky clean, either, having gotten flagged 10 times in the first half alone last week. Discipline will be a major focal point between these two aggressive teams.
Staying grounded. Chris Johnson, the Titans' top offensive weapon, leads the AFC in rushing with 256 yards. Jets tailback Bilal Powell is second in the conference with 226. The Jets have been stout against the run, holding opposing rushers to 3.2 yards a carry. The Titans haven't been as successful in that category, surrendering 4.4 yards a clip on the ground.
Turnover differential. New York has turned the ball over eight times through three games, tied for the fourth-most in the league. The Titans are just one of two teams with a single turnover on offense. Tennessee's defense has five takeaways, while the Jets have just two. Gang Green will need to reverse that trend sooner than later.
It's history. The Titans won the teams' last meeting, a 14-10 stinker last year that saw Johnson bury the Jets with a back-breaking 94-yard touchdown run. The Jets, however, won five of six head-to-head bouts prior to that game. Both teams have taken on different looks this year and should provide for a balanced battle that should still be up for grabs in the fourth quarter..
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