On paper this game should be a Jets slam dunk. The Jets have won three straight games, scoring 34 points in all three. The Bengals are the worst team in the NFL at 0 -11 so end of story right? But these are the Jets and they never seem to handle success well. The second people start jumping on the Jets bandwagon is usually a good time to pump the brakes. When they beat the Cowboys in Sam's return, the analysts fell in love and started predicting big things. One week later Bill B. and the Pats laid a massive beatdown on them and made Sam see ghosts, the start of a 3 game skid. The point to all of this? The third loss was to a winless Dolphins team donned "the worst team in the NFL". Sound familiar?
The Bengals are ranked 30th and 29th respectively in passing and rushing defense. They are allowing 166.4 yards per game and have given up 200 yards rushing 4 times this year. Still with those weak stats they have some good individual talent. Linebacker Nick Vigil leads the team in tackles with 88 but it is defensive tackle Geno Atkins that is a concern. He leads the Bengals with 4.5 sacks. This two time All-Pro has 75.5 lifetime sacks. Geno Atkins may be the best defensive tackle no one knows about. At 31 years old he is not close to slowing down having had 10 sacks last year. In addition to Atkins, defensive end Sam Hubbard has been improving every game since coming into the league. This second year Ohio Sate product already has 4 sacks and had 10 in his rookie year.
The Bengals offense hasn't been much better but there are a couple things to keep an eye on. Joe Mixon has been running better of late. So the Jets league leading rushing defense will again be tested. Mixon is 6'1" 200 with speed. He isn't a pile mover but he will run through arm tackles or make you miss. But the biggest key to the game will be at QB where Andy Dalton (9 TDs, 8 INTs, 79.2 RTG)) has been reinstalled as the starter. It is hard to gauge the impact this will have. Dalton is inconsistent and streaky, so which one shows up on Sunday could make this game very interesting. When he's on, he can make all the throws and looks every bit the part of a top NFL QB. His whole career has been in the NFL North, facing the likes of the Steelers and Ravens defense twice a year for the last 9 years. He isn't rattled by a blitzing defense. Wide receiver Tyler Boyd is the most dangerous weapon the Bengals have unless (listed as doubtful) AJ Green plays. Boyd had 101 yards receiving last week but more important when he and Andy Dalton are on the field together he is even more dangerous. Earlier this year he had 10 receptions for 122 yards against the 49ers and three weeks later he almost repeated exactly the same stats with 10 receptions for 123 yards against the Cardinals. The often injured tight end Tyler Eifert is also a threat. This Notre Dame product has 23 lifetime TDs highlighted in 2012 with 13 of them. The injuries have taken their toll on Eifert but he is still dangerous.
The Jets offensive success should continue. The offensive line has been protecting Sam better over the three wins and if that trend continues look for the offense to keep playing well. Wouldn't be a surprise if Le'Veon Bell finally has his breakout game but this game will likely hinge on the play of Dalton.
Coming January 2020.
With 110 creative t-ball drills.
Put Bless Austin on Tyler Boyd. Jamal Adams should continue to roam the line of scrimmage giving Dalton another thing to think about. And when their is a 3rd and 8+ yards, blitz like crazy!
Last week the Jets contained rookie sensation Maxx Crosby who had 1 sack and they must do the same to stop Atkins & Hubbard. The Jets have got to continue with the short passes mixed in with some misdirection plays. The moving pocket is working and Adam Gase should continue this. Sam Darnold has got to get rid of the ball quickly with both Bell and Powell helping the Jets offensive line with pass protection. If AJ Green somehow plays, the Jets could be in trouble. Hopefully Sam’s night on the town after last Sunday’s win has no lasting affects. Le'Veon Bell has his first breakout game as a Jet they win this game to continue the season turn around.
Jets 24 Bengals 17
Marty Schupak's basketball book from Amazon
Robby Anderson: Maybe Robby reads this and saw his name on the “Free Fallin” list. Had a very good Raiders game but has got to keep his helmet on. Still not sure if he is on the team next year.
Braxton Berrios: Our speedy Patriot type player is coming on. He is fast and sure handed on punt returns and catching passes. Get him more reps.
Sam Darnold: I don’t know what the ceiling is for Sam, but surround him with more talent and keep him upright and the Jets future is positive.
Ryan Griffin: I’ll put this newly resigned player on this list every week if he continues his stellar play. He had another TD reception but it was his block on Sam’s TD run that stood out.
Brian Poole: When this ex-Falcon was signed, I had heard that he was Buster Skrine 2.0. Nothing to that. Surround this athlete with competent DB’s and he does an excellent job covering the slot.
Alex (not Jones) Lewis: This guard was a great pick up by Joe Douglas. Despite at least one penalty a game, he is tough, plays hard and opens holes.
Frank Pollack: I raved about the Jets new offensive line coach then did a “Mea Culpa.” Truth is the band aid OL is doing better now than when the season started. Frank is doing a great job.
Adam Gase: He has showed me something the last 3 (especially the last 2) weeks. But the image of him giving up and moping on the sidelines still resonates in my mind.
Marty Schupak's latest youth sports podcast
Henry Anderson: I know the Jets defensive line is great against the run, but where is the pass rushing Henry we saw last year?
Quinnen Williams: When are we going to see something? I almost threw up my Thanksgiving dinner watching the Bill’s Ed Oliver (who I wanted) have 4 tackles and 2 sacks against the Cowboys.
Kyle Phillips: Great story with this un-drafted free agent. Truth is since the Jaguars game he is disappearing. Hopefully he is not hurt. We need to see more production from this Tennessee product.
Jet Fans Who Sold Raider Tickets: Full disclosure: I almost gave up on the season also but the people who prematurely sold their Raider tickets after the Dolphin game were classless.