When the Titans' offense takes the field on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, they'll do so without their top two wide receivers.
Both Julio Jones and A.J. Brown have been ruled out for this week's contest against the Jets, a huge break for New York as they look to secure their first win of the season.
Jones and Brown are both managing hamstring injuries, keeping them sidelined during practice this week.
As much as Tennessee, and quarterback Ryan Tannehill, will look to employ a next man up approach at wide receiver against the Jets' young secondary—leaning heavily on running back Derrick Henry—this is still a huge blow.
Jones and Brown have accounted for 296 receiving yards on 19 catches through the first three games of the season. No other Tennessee wideout has been targeted more than those two stars.
Last season, Brown led the Titans with 1,075 receiving yards on 70 catches with 11 touchdowns. Jones has been wreaking havoc for the Falcons for a decade and needs no introduction. Playing in just nine games last year for Atlanta, the wideout snapped his six-year run of 1,000-plus receiving yards.
For a unit that relies so much on the run game, using Henry to open the door for big plays in play action, this could have a significant impact on game plans for both teams. The Jets can place even more of an emphasis on stopping the run, placing more hats in the box without needing to worry about those two studs at wide receiver beating them over the top.
That said, defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich made it clear that New York won't be underestimating the rest of the Titans' aerial attack even in Jones and Brown's absence.
"They have a good wide receiver regime outside of those two, so it’s going to be a tough challenge regardless," he told reporters this week.
Considering New York is missing both their starting safeties—with Lamarcus Joyner out for the year and Marcus Maye sidelined with an ankle injury—this should lessen the load for those that do line up in the secondary on Sunday.
It all starts with the run, though. If New York can limit Henry's production, forcing Tannehill to beat them through the air, the Jets may very well be in a position to win on Sunday.