New York Jets' X-Factors Primed for Big Week 4 Performances

Aidan MackieSenior Analyst ISeptember 24, 2013

Sep 22, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) with the ball against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

It's been an impressive start to the season for the New York Jets. Through three weeks, the team is 2-1 and is, perhaps, a Geno Smith interception away from 3-0. 

The Geno Smith-led offense has been inconsistent, but it has been able to move the ball well. Rex Ryan's defensive unit has been absolutely fantastic, especially when asked to contain the opposition's running attack. 

Much of the Jets' early success can be accredited to surprisingly solid performances from players who were either expected to make little to no impact or to be liabilities. 

These productive players look primed for big games this Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.


Antonio Allen

Before Week 1, many fans and analysts had serious doubts about whether second-year man Antonio Allen could be a decent starting safety at the NFL-level.

However, through three weeks, Allen has been more than just decent; he has been superb.  

The South Carolina product has recorded 17 tackles in three games, including eight in Week 2 against the New England Patriots. Just this past week against Buffalo, Allen recorded both a tackle for loss and a sack. 

Allen is an in-the-box, physical defensive back who excels when asked to creep up to the line of scrimmage, but his coverage skills, deemed subpar entering the preseason, have been commendable to date as well. 

Expect Allen to make a substantial impact this Sunday against a Tennessee offense that can make mistakes when under pressure. 


Damon Harrison

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Nose tackle Damon Harrison #94 of the New York Jets celebrates after a four-yard tackle for loss in the second quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 12, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Pho
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The Jets run defense has been dominant, thus far, and Damon Harrison is a huge reason why. 

Expected to spend the 2013 season stuck behind Kenrick Ellis on the depth chart, Harrison has performed so well that he has likely earned the starting job for the near future and beyond. 

Harrison's stats are impressive through three games (11 tackles and two tackles for loss), but his impact goes well beyond the stat sheet. Harrison's ability to shed blocks and close gaps is, perhaps, the main reason the Jets rank sixth in the league in rush defense. 

The Jets have shut down three Pro Bowl running backs (Doug Martin, Stevan Ridley, and C.J. Spiller) in consecutive weeks. Expect Chris Johnson to be another victim of New York's reinvigorated run defense, led by the 6'4'', 350-pound Harrison. 


Bilal Powell

With the addition of Chris Ivory this offseason, Bilal Powell was supposed to be limited to just third-down work in 2013. 

However, he has emerged as the premier running back on New York's roster through the first three weeks of the season. 

Powell is on pace for over 200 carries and an 1,000-yard season, as he has recorded 226 yards on 52 carries, thus far, for an impressive 4.3 average. The 24-year-old is coming off a dominant 149-yard outing against the Buffalo Bills

Powell has also been impressive in the passing game. He has already recorded eight catches for 66 yards, and his ability to pass protect is phenomenal. 

With Chris Ivory doubtful for this week, according to Rich Cimini of, Powell will receive a lion's share of touches against a Titans team that ranks 14th in the league in run defense.