Wild Card Preview- Jets at Bengals
Less than a week ago, the Bengals were shut-out by the Jets 37-0. Palmer was just 1-11, 0 yards passing. Of course, the Jets were playing for everything, a wild-card spot in the playoffs. The Jets rank first in the NFL in total defense; opponents average just 252.3 yards per game.
Both teams rely on running the football.
Bengals Run Offense vs Jets Run Defense
The Bengals rank 9th in the NFL in rushing; the Jets defense is 8th in the NFL against the run. The only 100 yard rusher the Jets have allowed all year has been Maurice Jones-Drew of the Jaguars. He had 122 yards on the ground in a week 10 matchup against New York. Mamouth nose-tackle Kris Jenkins was lost for the year in November, but Sione Piouha has been just fine filling in for Jenkins. The huge key is MLB David Harris, he is questionable. He is the best tackler on defense
Benson has rushed for over 100 yards twice against the Ravens, and once against the Packers. Baltimore was 5th against the ground game, and Green Bay was 1st. To Green Bay’s credit, Benson’s total came in week 2. Cincinnati has to get the run game going to win the game, it’s that simple.
Jets Run Offense vs Bengals Run Defense
The Jets in my opinion have the best offensive line in football. They rank 1st in rushing offense at 172.2 yards per game. They are led by center Nick Mangold and guard Alan Faneca. The rushing attack is led by Thomas Jones, although rookie Shonn Green has been getting some meaningful carries in the 2nd half of the season.
The Bengals rank 7th in the NFL in rushing. Domata Peko will return at defensive tackle after missing the last couple of weeks. Peko is the best player on the defensive line. With Peko out of the lineup the past 4 weeks, opponents rushed for over 100 yards in 3 of the 4 weeks.
Bengals Pass Offense vs Jets Pass Defense
The matchup of the game is obviously Chad Ocho-Cinco vs Darrelle Revis. Revis is a shut-down corner, and he may be the best in the league. What he’s done this season shutting guys down like Moss, Owens and Andre Johnson has been extraordinary. Right now, there is a class of three when it comes to the cornerback position; Revis, Asomugha and Bailey. Revis is one of the main reasons why the Jets rank 1st in the NFL against the pass. They allow a slim 153.7 yards per game.
If Ocho-Cinco is shut down, either Andre Caldwell or Laveranues Coles will have to step-up. Cincinnati is 26th in the NFL in passing offense. Carson Palmer will have to be smart with the football.
Another match-up to look at is Calvin Pace matched up against Andre Whitworth. Pace led the Jets in sacks with 8. It will also be interesting to see how the rest of the line will fare against the ferocious blitz packages designed by Rex Ryan.
Jets Pass Offense vs Cincinnati Pass Defense
Cincinnati has one of the best cornerback tandems in the league with Leon Hall and Jonathen Joseph. Both had 6 interceptions a piece. Chinedum Ndukwe is one of the most underrated strong safeties in the league.
Expect rookie Mark Sanchez to not take too many chances with the football. I feel that Dustin Keller will be the key receiver in the game. He will be running underneath allowing Sanchez to make some easy completions.
Braylon Edwards has been somewhat disappointing during his short tenure with the Jets. Acquired during the season, Edwards is still having a case of the drops.
Whoever runs the football better will win this game. The other factor is Sanchez. As long as the Jets don’t turn the ball over, they should go into Cincinnati and come away with a win.
PREDICTION- JETS 16-13