The Titans needed that win badly against Jacksonville. You never hear anything about dissension, players quitting, or tension in the locker room with this group, so when they finally get a win after knowing that they have been working at it, it is encouraging. Hopefully, they can win back to back games for the first time since 2013. A look at the matchups:
Reasons For Confidence: Fitzpatrick turnovers, Jets' Linebackers, Marcus Mariota
Fitzpatrick Turnovers: Titans fans know from personal experience that Ryan Fitzpatrick is a very streaky passer. He could be on fire, or he could throw for three interceptions. In close games, it almost seems as if he starts to play "hero ball" which leads to late interceptions. He has 11 on the year so far. Dick Lebeau's defense could be due for a bounce back performance after struggling last week.
Jets' Linebackers: The Jets' linebackers have had a lot of trouble in space this season. They simply are not quick enough to cover tight ends and running backs out of the backfield. Though I am one of Bishop Sankey's harshest critics, this seems like a game where he could get involved in the passing game. Obviously, linebackers that struggle in coverage is great news for one of the best tight ends in the league, Delanie Walker. With the receivers possibly having trouble with their individual matchups, it would not be a surprise to see Delanie Walker have a big day.
Marcus Mariota: Every couple of weeks, I like to list Mariota as a reason of confidence just as reinforcement. With Marcus Mariota under center, the Titans are in just about any game, despite an extreme lack of talent on the rest of the roster. Yes, he has to carry the team on his shoulders, but we have seen him do it before, and against a struggling pass defense, maybe he can do it again.
Reasons For Concern: Brandon Marshall, Jets Defensive Line, Jets' Run Defense
Brandon Marshall: We saw last week how much damage a big, physical receiver can do to this defense. Allen Robinson made several plays in his huge game last week, and it would not be a surprise to see the Jets target Brandon Marshall often on Sunday. The Titans will have their hands full with a receiver that has a very similar skill-set to Allen Robinson's.
Jets' Defensive Line: Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Leonard Williams, Damon Harrison. The Jets have arguably the most talented defensive line in the NFL. While the Titans have done a great job of keeping Marcus Mariota upright since Mike Mularkey took over, they will be facing a unit that is greater than or equal to Carolina's. It's been covered several times, but again, this does not go well with what Mike Mularkey wants to do on offense. It will put a lot on the wide receivers to win their individual matchups, and while Darrelle Revis will be out and the other cornerbacks have struggled recently, it will still be a tough task for the wide receivers.
Jets' Run Defense: What makes protecting Mariota and receivers winning matchups even more important is the Jets' run defense. According to Football Outsiders, they have the second best run defense in the NFL. While the Titans surprisingly had success against a talented run defense last week, it would not be a surprise to see them come back down to earth on Sunday. Again, this is a unit that is greater than or equal to Carolina's, and everyone saw how that went.
Prediction: I want to pick the Titans here. I believe that Marcus Mariota will have another impressive game against this pass defense, and I think that the defense will have a bounce back performance. That being said, I cannot pick the Titans to win a second straight game until they actually do it it. Plus, they are on the road in December. It will be tough, and a win would show true growth. However, I have to pick New York. Jets win, 23-17.