Jenkins, Pace Take Center Stage For Jets Against Unbeaten Titans

Jets defense needs to step up against tough Titans

Until he beat the New England Patriots in the fourth quarter and overtime last Thursday, Brett Favre hadn't created a lasting memory as a memvber of the New York Jets. He could have been Ronnie Lott or Art Monk, two other Hall of Famers with unmemorable stints with the Jets. Winning the game last week, though, was a validation of his acquisition and furnished an image of Brett the Jet that won't soon fade.

This weekend in Tennessee provides Kris Jenkins and Calvin Pace with similar opportunities. Before the Favre trade, those two represented the Jets' attempt to become a better team but were pushed to the background when the circus came to town. Leading the win that stops Tennessee's run at a perfect season, though, would let them create an indelible moment for themselves.

Pace needs it more than Jenkins. The massive defensive tackle has already transformed the Jets into a strong run defense team, and his play against Buffalo, in particular, made it clear that acquiring him was a savvy move. Pace has had a season more similar to the pre-Patriot Favre's, however. Not awful by any means, but not so good that you'd say it was worth all the fuss bringing him here. He can change that this week.

While Jenkins is stopping Chris Johnson and LenDale White from dominating the game on the ground, Pace has to force Kerry Collins into the game that turns him from Cinderfella into a pumpkin. The last two weeks, as teams load up to stop the ground game, Collins has thrown for 519 yards and five touchdowns. He makes few mistakes and has given the Titans a more balanced, more effective offensive attack. Pace has to bring pressure, force Collins into errors and give the offense short fields against the stout Titan defense.

It won't be as easy as that, of course. But Favre hardly won last week all by himself, even if he got the lion's share of the credit. If the Jets stop the Titan offense, it will be because Jenkins and Pace come up big and that means they'll get the glory.

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