2012 Week 15 NFL Picks: New York Jets @ Tennessee Titans Vegas Odds and Predictions – Free NFL Picks 12/17/2012: At 4-9, the Tennessee Titans have been out of the playoff picture for several weeks, but they have the chance to play the role of spoiler Monday night when they take on the New York Jets (6-7). The Jets are clinging to thin postseason hopes of their own, but a loss to Tennessee would be a death blow to their chances. With their season on the line, all the pressure is on the Jets Monday night. Playing on the road, they are one-point underdogs.
In many ways, it is amazing that the Jets are even in the playoff hunt. New York has been a disaster on offense, ranking 26th in scoring at less than 19 points per game. Quarterback Mark Sanchez has struggled all season, throwing 12 touchdowns compared to 13 interceptions. Injuries to multiple receivers haven’t helped, and with Jeremy Kerley currently leading the team in receiving yards, it isn’t a shock that New York ranks 30th in passing. The running game on the other hand actually ranks in the top 15 in yards per game, but it is far from explosive. Starting back Shonn Greene is averaging less than four yards per carry, and he has just two 100-yard games all year. Defensively, the Jets have struggled against the run at times, but despite the loss of star corner Darrelle Revis, New York’s unit has remained one of the best against the pass and has kept the Jets in a lot of games.
Tennessee has had issues and injuries on both sides of the ball this year. Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker have both seen time under center, and while Locker currently has the job, he has as many touchdowns passes as interceptions and is completing just 57 percent of his passes. On the plus side, the passing attack did receive a boost a few weeks ago when star receiver Kenny Britt returned. Meanwhile, running back Chris Johnson has topped 1,000 yards and is averaging 4.7 yards per carry, but he has yet to recapture the form that made him the most explosive player in the NFL just a couple of seasons ago. Defensively, the Titans have been gashed by both the run and the pass, and they are allowing the second-most points in the league this year at almost 30 per game.
The Jets Win If:
The last thing the Jets want to do is caught up in a high-scoring shootout with the Titans. Yes, Tennessee’s defense has been terrible this year, but New York simply doesn’t have the weapons to put a lot of points on the board. Instead, the Jets need to make this an ugly, physical game and with their defense and ground game. Even with a conservative game plan, the Jets should be able to ground and pound their way to a few scores. More importantly, they will limit turnovers that could potentially create easy scores for the Titans. Defensively, New York needs to focus its efforts on shutting down Johnson and make the inexperienced, inconsistent Locker try to win the game. If the Jets can keep the ball out of the hands of Sanchez on offense as much as possible and keep the ball in Lockers hands with their defense, they can grind out an ugly road win.
The Titans Win If:
While New York will be trying to control the pace and keep the score low, the Titans need to be in attack mode. With Britt healthy, Tennessee has multiple receivers that can stretch the field, and Locker needs to do just that to open up some running lanes. If Locker can prove he can make plays down the field, Johnson will be able to do some serious damage on the ground against a weak New York rush defense. Meanwhile, the Tennessee defense needs to focus on stopping Greene and the ground game early, forcing Sanchez into obvious passing situations. If the Titans can get their offense clicking early and force Sanchez to take to the air, the Jets aren’t going to be able to keep pace. Points are Tennessee’s best friend in this game.
Let’s face it. Both of these teams have plenty of flaws, but Tennessee’s weaknesses are actually masked somewhat by New York’s weaknesses. The Titans have given up a ton of points this year, but they are facing a Jets’ offense that managed just seven points against Arizona and 17 points against Jacksonville the last two weeks. Tennessee just doesn’t have to worry about giving up big plays to the Jets, and that alone masks the Titans’ biggest problem. New York’s defense on the other hand ranks 29th against the run, allowing almost 140 yards per game. With the speed of Johnson and scrambling ability of Locker, the Titans should be able to find their way to a few big plays. At the end of the day, the recipe for beating Tennessee is to exploit its porous defense and outscore them. The Jets simply don’t have the pieces in place to put a lot of points on the board, and it will bite them against a Titans’ team that is as healthy as it has been all season on the offensive side of the ball.
Prediction: Tennessee Titans (-1) Cover the Spread
New York Jets @ Tennessee Titans
Line: Tennessee -1
Total: Over/Under 41.5
Time: 8:30 PM EST on ESPN
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