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1st Place Jets Prepping For Titans

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Post icon  Posted 18 November 2008 - 02:19 PM

QUOTE
First-place Jets begin preparing for 10-0 Titans

By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.,

AP Sports Writer FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) The New York Jets had a few days off to celebrate their big win at New England and get away from football for a little while.

The break's over now. Next stop: undefeated Tennessee.

"They don't make a lot of mistakes," coach Eric Mangini said Monday of the 10-0 Titans. "They haven't turned the ball over much offensively and they've been able to generate a lot of turnovers defensively, and that always goes a long way to winning and losing."

All that leads to, well, a titanic challenge Sunday for a Jets team that has won four straight and six of seven, and sits alone atop the AFC East for the first time in seven years.

"They play complementary football, and they're talented in all three phases," Mangini said. "They're well-coached, they score a lot of points in the second quarter and the fourth quarter, which makes you believe that they're very well-conditioned."

And the Jets (7-3) should be well rested for their big game. After beating the Patriots 34-31 in overtime last Thursday, the players had the equivalent of a mini-bye. They also had off from speaking with the media Monday.

"I really like the chance to get the guys away from the building a little bit, to get them a chance to get off their feet, relax, do all those things that typically you do during a bye weekend," Mangini said. "Over the last couple years, our byes have come later than earlier. This was a bit different for us this year. So it's nice to have this time."

Mangini caught some of the Titans' 24-14 comeback over Jacksonville on Sunday - "There was some competing interests there at the house" - and was looking forward to viewing the coaches' film. He'll probably see a confident group of Titans players, a few of whom said they feel they can't be beaten if they continue playing as they have.

"You always want your guys to have the mentality that they can't lose," Mangini said. "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."

After the win over the Patriots, running back Leon Washington said the Jets also have that mentality - something that has developed since their last loss at Oakland last month.

"It's what you're looking for in a locker room," Mangini said. "It's much better than sitting there waiting for the other shoe to drop in any given game where you think, 'OK, it's going well, but what's going to happen?'"

The Jets' offense has been clicking lately, with Thomas Jones leading the AFC in rushing with 854 yards and Brett Favre efficiently running things. Favre, who struggled through a mistake-filled stretch a few weeks ago, has not thrown an interception in his last two games and has been sacked only four times in the last four weeks.

Favre and his offense will have a tough task against the Titans' defense, which is ranked sixth in the NFL and has given up the fewest points in the league behind defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth.

"They have the ability to rush the passer with a down lineman," Mangini said. "They can bring combinations of blitzes if they want to do that. They play man coverage; they play zone coverage; they play some combination coverages, half-man, half-zone. So, it's varied from that perspective."

The Jets' defense, particularly the front seven, has been nearly as stout. New York ranks fourth in the league against the run, and third with 34 sacks. Tennessee might be the perfect test with the Titans ranked seventh in rushing behind rookie Chris Johnson and LenDale White. Quarterback Kerry Collins has also had plenty of time to throw, having been sacked just five times.

"This time of the season, you're really looking to be playing at a consistent level because each game becomes that much more important as you get down here through the last six games," Mangini said. "A lot of things are decided over the course of the next six weeks, obviously, so you're looking to play at as consistent a level as you can and work as hard as you possibly could to avoid a letdown in any situation."

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