Jets vs. Titans Week 4 pick and prediction

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Zach Wilson week 3 throw white jersey
Zach Wilson week 3 throw white jersey

Tennessee Titans (2-1) at JETS (0-3)

Sunday, 1 p.m.

Spread: Titans -7 1/2

This game is really about two people – Derrick Henry and Zach Wilson.

And right now, that doesn’t bode well for the Jets at all.

Start with Henry, the Titans’ bruising running back who is a perennial MVP candidate. Three games into this season he’s averaging 117 yards per game on the ground and he’s got 12 catches for 105 yards, too. He basically is the Titans offense, and will be even moreso if receiver A.J. Brown and Julio Jones don’t play.

The Jets have been an OK running defense, though they are prone to missed tackles and being overpowered when a running back breaks through their defensive line. That’s not surprising, given all the rookies in their back seven, and the losses of linebacker Jarrad Davis and safety Lamarcus Joyner to injuries.

Now, of course, safety Marcus Maye is out, too.

That’s going to make stopping Henry even tougher, and it will really put the onus for that on their defensive line. If they can control Henry and not let him through, the Jets will have a shot. But that’s easier said than done.

The only thing working to their advantage in that matchup is that the Titans’ passing offense hasn’t been particularly potent, and without Brown and Jones it could be markedly worse. Their top receivers would seem to be second-year pro Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and former Colt Chester Rogers. The Jets might feel comfortable stacking the box all day with eight men along the line.

Sep 26, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) passes the ball in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High.
Sep 26, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) passes the ball in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High.

But none of that matters if Wilson can’t get the Jets’ offense to score. And while the long-term prognosis for Wilson remains good, the short-term prognosis isn’t. It’s hard to have faith that he’ll be able to move the offense at all until he actually does it. Right now, the offense is stagnant. And it’s not all Wilson, either.

Maybe this is the day that Wilson and the offense put it together and at least look decent. If it is, they have a real chance to be in this game right until the end. But the combination of that unknown, plus a battered, very young defense trying to stop one of the best running backs in football doesn’t feel like a good situation.

The Titans can wear veteran defenses down. By the fourth quarter, this Jets defense could be in trouble. And if their offense struggles for the fourth straight week, it could be no gas for the defense for most of the second half.

Pick: Take the Titans, minus 7 1/2

Prediction: Titans 30, Jets 17

My record straight up: 3-0

My record against the spread: 2-1