Outsider’s View: Tennessee Titans – Week 4

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

We at TJB love advanced statistics and have long been fans of Football Outsiders.  Now that the season is underway, we’re going to take a look at the weekly opponents through the overall and unit rankings through the lens of Football Outsiders.  But before we do, let’s take a look at how the Titans are stacking up.  

(As a heads up, negative percentages are good on defense, but bad on offense & specials)

chrisjohnson.jpgPass Offense: 13.6% (15th)
Rush Offense: -5.1% (15th)
O-Line Ranking: Run 20th / Pass 14th

Analysis: Last week, after a solid defensive performance to keep the Titans in the game, Jake Locker drove his offense downfield to clinch a late win over the high-flying Chargers.  It was an ecstatically bewildering moment for the Titans, who have been unsure exactly what kind of player Locker is.  Locker is supposed to have great accuracy and arm-strength, but it never seems to materialize consistently on the field.  That’s the key to this offense, can Locker be a consistent player?  Until Locker can figure that out, he’ll have the inconsistent games we’ve seen from him so far. The Jets should be able to get Locker off station and force him into bad throws and decisions with their defensive line pressure.  Expect the Jets to make coverage hard on Locker and let their base personnel up front do as much pressuring as they can without over-blitzing to put themselves in a bad situation by over-committing against Chris Johnson.  The Jets should be able to contain Johnson, after shutting down younger players like Doug Martin and CJ Spiller already through three games.  Nate Washington is the key threat, but watch out for Kendall Wright who quietly is becoming a better player in the absence of Kenny Britt.

Pass Defense: -0.9% (13th)
Rush Defense: -15.8% (13th)
D-Line Ranking: Run 23rd / Pass 12th

Analysis:  More than likely, this game is going to come down to how the Jets offense plays against this defense.  Comparatively, this Titans defense is closer to (though better than) the Buffalo unit the Jets just saw, which means that the Jets have already played two much tougher defenses in Tampa Bay (ranked 6th overall) and New England (ranked 4th overall) and come out with wins in one of those much tougher games already.  No one wants to see the turnovers that the Jets committed against Buffalo, but if the Jets can put together a similar gameplan to what they did against the Bills, then the Jets should be able to come up with a win on this side of the ball, and thus a win in the game.  Bilal Powell should again be a key component to the Jets plan they can run their way to a win, even if they are slightly trailing at times.  The Jets will need to do a good job of protecting Geno.  The Titans have done a good job of getting sacks (nine so far) this season so protecting Geno from Zach Brown, Jurrell Casey and Derrick Morgan (two sacks apiece) will be key.  In the passing game, the Titans struggle most in protecting slot receivers and tight ends, so look for Jeremy Kerley, Kellen Winslow and Jeff Cumberland to be factors in the passing game this week.

Special Teams: -5.9% (26th)

Analysis: The Titans had a bad game last week on specials and their field goal and kick return games are particularly susceptible.  If the Jets can keep the Titans out of the end zone and in long field goal range in the first half, this game could turn quickly.