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7 Points: Jets vs. Mariota & the Titans

Thoughts on Elements of the Jets' Top 10 NFL Offense, Tennessee's Pass Rush & the Next 'Trap Game'

Following wins from ahead over Miami and from behind vs. the Giants, the 7-5 Jets play their third straight game at MetLife Stadium, this one against the 3-9 Titans, and are seeking their first three-game winning streak under head coach Todd Bowles.

And this situation opened the "trap" door for reporters this week.

"We're not a good enough team to overlook anybody," QB Ryan Fitzpatrick said. "We've got to treat everyone like it's the playoffs. We're in the playoffs right now trying to win each week. I don't think you'll see, hear or feel that out of our team at all."

And as Bill Parcells texted to Todd Bowles this week (we paraphrase): "Everybody's talking playoffs. Just coach your team and worry about the next game."

The proof of the Jets' focus will be in putting away the Tennessee Mariotas and rising to 8-5 and just perhaps into first-wild-card territory. (Fans are allowed to scoreboard-watch the 7-5 Chiefs hosting the 3-9 Chargers, also with a 1 p.m. ET kickoff.)

Here are seven more points to ponder about Jets-Titans:

1. Two-Toned Rivalry

The Jets trail this series that goes back to the misty beginnings of the AFL (when the Jets were the team known as the Titans) by 23-18-1. But after the Houston Oilers morphed into the Tennessee Oilers and then Titans, the Jets have won six of nine, including both in the Meadowlands, in '03 and '09. If they can be competitive heading into the fourth quarter, they'll be in good shape to make it 7-3 vs. Tennessee — they've outscored opponents by 34 points in the final frame this year, tied for fourth in the NFL, while the Titans have been outscored by 61, next-to-last in the league.

2. An Offense That's a 10

Fitzpatrick's a seven-game winner in a season for the first time in his career, and he's part of a top-10 NFL offense this late in a season for the first time since the 2006 Rams, while OC Chan Gailey hasn't had an NFL offense ranked that high this late since the 1998 Cowboys. Is either satisfied sitting at No. 10 now? Gailey spoke for all Jets, no doubt, when he said, "I've been satisfied seven times and not satisfied five times. The objective is to win the game by one point. I don't give a rip about stats."

3. Dynamic Duo

That being said, numbers say a lot about the passing attack that has evolved with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker lining up in different spots, playing off each other, moving the chains and lighting the scoreboard. As a tandem, they have 142 receptions, ninth on the franchise list; 1,863 yards, No. 11; and 18 TDs, tied for third and two off the franchise mark set by Art Powell and Don Maynard for those other Titans in '60 and tied by Wesley Walker and Al Toon in '86. And four games to improve on it all.

4. Mariota Motor

QB Marcus Mariota's having a fine rookie season of throwing but also, as fans know who watched his 87-yard TD jaunt over and over vs. a Jaguars blitz last week, running. That was the third-longest QB run in the NFL in the last quarter century. DC Kacy Rodgers on MM: "He's kind of a guy with the total package." The Jets would like to crush that package this holiday season with pressure led by Muhammad Wilkerson (tied for fifth in the NFL with 9.0 sacks) and coverage enhanced by the return of CB Darrelle Revis from his concussion.

5. Yakkity YAC

RB Bilal Powell struck an iconic celebratory pose after his second-quarter TD vs. the Giants that could stand for his entire eight-catch, 91-yard game. Powell doesn't talk a lot but these days he's YAC-ing up a storm. His 112 yards after catch Sunday (minus-21 before the catch) marked only the fourth time in the last 20 years that a Jet has logged 100 YAC in a game. The others: LaDainian Tomlinson in '11 @ OAK, Leon Washington in '06 @ MIA, and Keyshawn Johnson in the '99 opener vs. NE. The trouble with secret weapons is they don't stay secret for long. Then they just become weapons.

6. Under Pressure

The Jets are No. 1 in the league at protecting their QBs from enemy sackers, but Tennessee is No. 2 at recording sacks. Further, the Titans are tied for first in the league with three defenders registering at least five sacks in OLB Brian Orakpo, ILB Wesley Woodyard and DT Jurrell Casey. "They have their different blitzes and zone blitzes and ways to bring five guys," said Fitzpatrick, a Titan in '13. "Just playing with some of those guys, I know how tough they'll be to handle."

7. Returns Imbalance

Dwayne Harris' punt-return touchdown for the Giants raises again the Jets' return-TD deficit. The Green & White have yielded four return scores, all on special teams, this year, while scoring on no returns. This trend goes back to 2013, with the Jets an NFL-worst 0-to-10 in return scores for and against. Dare we call out Antonio Cromartie, Jeremy Kerley, David Harris, Demario Davis, and any other Jet who could take an INT, a FUM or a kick to the house? No, we dare not. Let's just say that in franchise history, when the Jets score a return TD and the opponents don't, their record is 88-42. It couldn't hurt.

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