The high of last Sunday hasn’t quite worn off, and why should it? The Jets pulled off one of the most unlikely comeback wins of the last 20 years in the NFL, shocking Keven Stefanski and the Browns scoring two touchdowns in less than two minutes to win the game by one point. The Jets will look to carry that momentum forward at Metlife against a struggling Cincinnati Bengals. We’ll look at the keys to victory for the Jets, and compare predictions between the Jets Joint writers and the Bengal Breakdown team.
The New York Jets should be going into this week with a lot of confidence. They bounced back following a disappointing week one loss to Baltimore with a gutsy performance against the Browns. All the talk we’ve heard from Saleh and the guys in press conferences seemed to appear in front of us, and now we need to see them take it to the AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals.
Prior to the season starting that was a daunting prospect. But the Bengals currently sit 0-2 following losses in what should have been very winnable games. So what happened; and how can the Jets take advantage of it to give us all another win to celebrate?
Bengals’ False Start in 2022
Bengals fans, quite rightly, came into the 2022 season expecting big things. Fresh off a surprise Superbowl run, with a newly tooled out offensive line and the hyper talented duo of Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase leading their offence they were certainly not expecting to be 0-2 after facing Mitch Trubisky and Cooper Rush.
After taking a risk in rolling with their offensive line to add a player maker like Chase in the 2021 Draft the Bengals invested heavily: bringing in La’el Collins, Alex Kappa, and Ted Karras through free agency, and drafting Cordell Volson to play alongside their 3rd year left tackle Jonah Williams. On paper (Jets fans know all about that statement) this is a very good offensive line.
The Bengals O-Line has been terrible so far. Joe Burrow has been sacked 13 times. 13 times. In two weeks. Bengals fans can look forward and say that these are teething problems that are to be expected when the entire line is playing its first season together, but for the Jets playing them early in the year this is a clear weakness to exploit.
Joe Burrow sacked yet again against the Cowboys in week two – Image courtesy of USA Today
With the defensive line talent the Jets added this off-season they should be able to take advantage of this start to rack up some sacks. But they have to get there quicker. On average Burrow has been getting the ball out nearly half a second faster (2.56s) compared to the two QBs the Jets have already gone up against in Brissett (2.98s) and Lamar Jackson (2.99s), so they need to win their match ups and get home.
The Bengals poor line play is showing up in the run game as well combining with some poor play from Joe Mixon. Mixon has an average of three yard per carry so far running mainly inside to the right of the line, which makes sense when you see the difference in blocking grades between the left and right sides of the line (Williams has an overall of 44.3.)
It’s not clear what type of defence to expect against Cincinnati on Sunday. Against Pittsburgh in week one they performed reasonably well, but fell of a cliff in coverage against Dallas in week two as you can see from the gradings on PFF:WeekDEFRDEFCOVPRSH181.482.379.762.8253.255.355.055.7
Watching the games some of this is down to offensive game plan by the opposition; Dallas took the same approach the Jets took with Mike White in 2021 and played dink and dunk football up the field which exposed the weakness the Bengals have in coverage. Cincinnati suffers from average to poor corner play from everyone except Mike Hilton who just can’t do it all by himself. I fully expect Eli Apple to get toasted on more than one occasion by Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore.
Saleh isn’t overlooking the Bengals though. At his press conference on Wednesday Saleh made it clear the Bengals still
I see a team that’s still playing their tails off. They’re still the AFC Champs in my mind … and we fully expect them to be what we see on tape, which is a very good football team.
<img decoding="async" src="https://i0.wp.com/jetsjoint.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/23/2022/09/Dr.-Squatch-1024x683.jpg?resize=509%2C339" alt="" class="wp-image-535 lazyload" width="509" height="339" data-recalc-dims="1" />
Keys To The Game
It may be unfair to single out Lawson as really it’s the whole defensive line that needs to show up against the Bengals’ poorly performing offensive line. Lawson has slightly more skin in this particular game though. Back in 2021 the Bengals had a choice to resign Lawson to a new deal or let him walk and go in another direction. All Jets fans know they chose the latter option, signing Trey Hendrickson and Lawson ended up signing a deal with the Jets.
Jets Carl Lawson is primed to prove his worth agains the Bengals on Sunday – Image courtesy of USA Today
Short term results wise you’d argue that the Bengals made the right decision; Lawson missed all of 2021 with an achilles injury, and Hendrickson had a great year off the edge putting up 16 sacks, and a pass rush grade of 83.9. This Sunday, Lawson has an ideal opportunity to show them what a mistake it was to let him go. Saleh certainly thinks we haven’t seen everything Carl has to offer yet this season as he continues to recover from his achilles injury:
I know that there’s another gear in there for him, & it’s coming. He’s gonna be fine. All his power, all that stuff is there. It’s just getting all his timing back.
Corey Davis & Elijah Moore
It might seem odd to list Moore and Davis here and not Garrett Wilson. If the Bengals have any sense at all and have watched any film this week they’ll be giving Wilson a lot of attention on Sunday, giving their corners help as much as possible in keeping him quiet. That should open up a lot of chances for Davis and Moore to have one on one match ups they’ll need to win.
Davis has had a steady start to the season in terms of production with 77 yards against Baltimore and 83 against the Browns which puts him on track for an over 1200 yard season if he can keep it up. That’s what the Jets signed him for hoping he would do what he never could for Tennessee. But drops and some poor luck with injuries plagued his first season, and with only one drop so far you’d hope that’s been cleaned up.
Moore has had a slower start to the season with 90 yards through two games but he’s been reliable when targeted. Sunday is his opportunity to re-establish himself a bit and show the ability that was on display in 2021 that had Jets fans thinking we already had our WR1.
Sauce vs Chase
This is really what it comes down to. If Ja’Maar Chase it open all day and does the kind of Ja’Maar Chase things that end up with him gaining 200 receiving yards then the Jets will lose this game. Even with the struggles the Bengals have had Chase has put up 183 yards in two games; most coming in week one against the Steelers.
Sauce will likely see a lot of coverage snaps lined up against Chase on Sunday and if there was ever a time to have a breakout game for the rookie this is it. Trevon Diggs was able to hold Burrow to just two catches for 14 yards with Case putting up another 40 lined up against other defenders.
Gardner has the talent to be many times the corner that Diggs is in this league, however these past weeks have seen confusion between him and the safeties that have led to big plays and touchdowns. I’m more than happy to assign all that blame to the safeties given how poorly they’ve been playing, but things are rarely that simple, so Sauce needs to make sure he has Chase locked down on every play to give the Jets the best chance of winning.
Betting Bengals at Jets
Spread: +5 (seriously?)
Moneyline: NYJ + 192, CIN -224
Over/Under: 45 points
Cincinnati’s offensive line is a huge problem, expect the Jets defensive line to feast on Joe Burrow this week. Last year the Bengals a more explosive team the Jets were able to come away with a victory, this year some could say this is a trap game for New York. Real test is our secondary can they handle the likes of Jamar Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd then the Jets would be the odds end favorite in my book. (Jets pull off another close one 27 – 24) Jets Fans United – Gaetano Fontana
This might be one of the hardest challenges our defence will face all year with being tasked to stop Joe Burrow, Jamar Chase, Tee Higgins, Joe Mixon, and so many more other weapons. That being said our defence is well equipped with the right players in place to do just that. Ultimately, the fans are going to be the biggest factor in this game. After a win like that the 12th man needs to be in full effect and make playing at MetLife miserable for the other team. Coming of that kind of win, I think we can do it! (Jets win 23 – 17) Talking Jets – Thiago Rodriguez
xIs the 0-2 start by the Bengals an opportunity for the NY Jets, or a death sentence? While it may seem like the Bengals will come into Met Life like a dangerous wounded animal, the reality is they have fundamental problems in the trenches, an area the Jets are showing some strength on both sides of the ball. I expect this to be an extremely competitive game. The Jets pull out their first home win of the season 27-24. Jets Chaos – Jeremy Krevat
Bengals 20 – Jets 19 A lot of Cincinnati will see this as a get right game for the team, but let’s be honest, that should’ve been last week in Dallas. There are major issues with the Bengals’ offense right now, and that starts with Zac Taylor’s play calling. This is going to be a tight game to the very end, as the Jets have actually built a formidable squad (just ask Cleveland). However, I do think the Bengals finally get in the win column on a walk-off Evan McPherson kick. They’ve lost their first two games on walk offs, they might as well win their third on one themselves. Beau Gleason – Bengal Breakdown
Quite why the Bengals are favourites in this game on the road, and why NFL pundits (bar Daniel Jeremiah) are still not comfortable picking the Jets to win a game I don’t quite understand. The Jets will win this one reasonably comfortably 27 – 14. They’ll pull ahead in the 3rd quarter after a closely fought first half and the Bengals won’t manage to get back in the game.