NFL: Jets have shot at ending Titans' run today
Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 22, 2008
The New York Jets showed the nation last week that the acquisitions of Kris Jenkins, Alan Faneca and Brett Favre, among others, have made them legitimate playoff contenders.
Their game today in Tennessee may determine if they can be more than that.
The Titans enter the contest 10-0, the NFL’s only unbeaten team. The Jets, who lead the AFC East at 7-3, are the most formidable opponent they will face until the final two games of the regular season, when they host Pittsburgh, then finish at Indianapolis; Detroit, Cleveland and Houston are in between.
Tennessee, which has a four-game lead over the Colts in the AFC South with six games to go, can clinch a wild-card spot with a victory, although it’s all but a foregone conclusion the Titans will win the division, which they could clinch in a couple of weeks. As their run has continued, they’ve played down the unbeaten aspect, a good idea because New England’s unbeaten season last season was spoiled by a Super Bowl loss.
“We’ve got 10 wins,” says guard Jake Scott, who twice played on teams in Indianapolis that started with a double-digit unbeaten streak, including one in 2005 that started 13-0, then was eliminated in its first playoff game. “That’s a lot. To go undefeated, we’d have to win nine more. We’re just a little over halfway. You’re not even in that ballpark yet.”
The Jets look at it differently.
“You always want your guys to have the mentality that they can’t lose,” coach Eric Mangini says. “I think that’s a great spirit to have in any locker room, so I’m sure they’re really happy that they have that right now. We go into every game with the assumption that we’re going to win, as well.”
New York had its biggest win last week, beating the Patriots 34-31 in overtime after losing a 24-6 first-half lead. That gave the Jets a one-game lead over New England and Miami in the division, with Buffalo a game behind them.
In that sense, their focus has to be on the division race.
Yes, it would be great to knock off an unbeaten team. But staying in first is a higher priority.
In other games today, Tampa Bay is at Detroit; Chicago at St. Louis; New England at Miami; San Francisco at Dallas; Buffalo at Kansas City; Houston at Cleveland; Philadelphia at Baltimore; Minnesota at Jacksonville; Oakland at Denver; Washington at Seattle; the New York Giants at Arizona; and Indianapolis at San Diego.
Green Bay is at New Orleans on Monday night.