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Week 15 Preview: Jets at Titans

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New York Jets (2-11) at Tennessee Titans (2-11)

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, at LP Field, Nashville – TV: CBS

*TV announcers: Andrew Catalon, Steve Tasker, Steve Beuerlein

*Keys to the game: Chris Johnson is in a split backfield role with Chris Ivory, but you can bet Jets coach Rex Ryan will give him plenty of opportunity to leave an impression in Johnson’s first game back in Nashville. The Titans enter with the league’s worst run defense, and can expect a steady diet of Ivory and Johnson. QB Geno Smith continues to preach consistency as his area of most needed improvement, and there is no better way to support a quarterback than setting him up with a consistent platter of 3rd-and-2s.

The Titans have a good young back of their own in Bishop Sankey, who is backed up by Shonn Greene, who swapped NFL uniforms with Johnson over the offseason. Coach Ken Whisenhunt has rarely attempted to establish the ground game, but with a dinged up offensive line going against the Jets’ stout front four and backup QB Jake Locker forced back into the huddle, Tennessee also needs some solid production via the ground. Locker has completed just 59.3 percent of his passes with five TDs against seven INTs this season, although he does bring more versatility than injured Zach Mettenberger and flashed at times earlier this season before injuries again took their toll.

*Matchup to watch – Titans LT Will Svitek vs. Jets DE Jason Babin: Babin might not put the same fear into Svitek after he was abused by Houston’s J.J. Watt and the New York Giants’ Jason Pierre-Paul to the tune of five sacks, but Babin is a veteran pass-rushing specialist with the ability to continue Locker’s run of injuries if given clean shots. Whisenhunt hasn’t ruled out making a position switch.

*Player spotlight – Jets WR Percy Harvin: Harvin said he expects to play on his sore ankle, Ryan called it “a stretch” on Wednesday. His availability to could prove the tipping point as his versatility near the line of scrimmage is a significant asset for Smith.

*Fast facts: Johnson ranks third in Titans franchise history with 7,965 rushing yards and 50 TDs. … Greene needs 62 rushing yards to reach 4,000 for his career.

WHO WILL WIN AND WHY

Someone is going to lose valuable draft position by improving to three wins. It’s a longshot to be the Titans, who are dusting off Jake Locker, an injury-prone former first-rounder who may be hard pressed yet again to finish a game he starts.

*Our pick: Jets 16-9


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