If the Bengals put their A-Team on the field, this will be a battle of strength against strength. The Jets run for more yards than anybody in football. The Bengals have given up the second fewest rushing yards in the league. You know the drill by now. There will be plenty of eight man fronts. Starting safety Chinedum Ndukwe has been strong in run support with 83 tackles on the year, second on the team. Both corners, Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph, have also done well against the run on plays to the outside. The strength of Cincy's run defense is in the front seven, though.
Middle linebacker Dhani Jones is having an excellent year with 106 tackles. The tackles for Cincy, Tank Johnson and Jonathan Fanene have done their jobs in giving Jones room to operate. He is flanked by second year USC product Keith Rivers and Brandon Johnson. Rivers' college teammate, Rey Maualuga, broke his ankle last week and will miss the rest of the year. That hurts. Maualuga is terrific working in traffic and has a great motor.
The key matchup may be Damien Woody against Robert Geathers. We know how the Jets love to run behind Woody's big frame. The big 280 pound Geathers is one of the best ends against the run in football. If Woody wins his assignment, the Bengals might have problems without their strongside backer, Maualuga. Nick Mangold also must beat his men and not give Jones a free run.
I get the impression we'll see Shonn Greene a lot in this one. His play last week has to have given the coaching staff new confidence in him. His limited work load over the course the season has given him fresh legs, and his authoritative running style is effective against tired defenses at this time of the year. Yardage will be tough to come by inside. A power runner like Greene might be more effective than a guy who feels his blocks and uses vision like Thomas Jones.