Don’t look now, but the 6-7 Jets are scratching and clawing their way toward the playoffs. Tonight, the Titans stand in the way of a three-game winning streak, something the Jets haven’t done since Week 14 of last season.
Three things to watch for …
1. Minimizing Locker
Second-year Titans quarterback Jake Locker has had his ups and downs this season, but he’s showing the big-play ability that made him a first-round pick last year. Through eight games as a starter, Locker has a completion percentage of 57.5 percent (better than Mark Sanchez) and has nine touchdowns and nine interceptions. “He’s a special athlete. I don’t think there’s any doubt,” head coach Rex Ryan said. Locker is a threat with his feet, rushing for 213 yards this season.
2. Passing fancy
Ryan praised defensive ends Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples this week for their strong showings over the past few weeks. Wilkerson has been outstanding this season, with 56 tackles and four sacks. The rookie Coples has been coming on strong; he registered two tackles and a sack in last Sunday’s win. “Anytime you get out on the field, it’s a learning experience,” Coples said. “You definitely want to take advantage of the opportunities. I’m excited about getting out there each and every week.” It won’t come easy on Monday night. Since 1997, the Titans are third in the league with the fewest sacks per pass play. But the return on this investment is what the Jets expected from Wilkerson and Coples, their first-round picks the past two seasons.
There may not be a player in the league who means as much to his offense as Titans running back Chris Johnson. Johnson has been enjoying a solid season including topping 1,000 yards this past weekend for the fifth time in a five-year career. Johnson is also a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield, with 33 receptions for 210 yards. The Jets are the No. 29 rush defense this year, giving up 136.5 rushing yards per game, surely something that must excite Johnson for tonight’s game. But Johnson does have four fumbles lost this year.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.