The Bengals are the only team other than the Jets to run it more than they pass it this season. Since they run it 132.3 per game, it makes sense. Cedric Benson, Cincinnati's top back, is a story in redemption. The Bears took him early in the first round in 2005. They traded Thomas Jones to the Jets following the 2006 season because they thought they had a number one back in Benson. Benson was unproductive with the Bears and had a few brushes with the law. The Bengals took a flier on him last year. He's responded by rushing for 1,251 yards and a 4.2 average this year as the hammer of Cincinnati's power run game. He is backed up by a pair of backs, Bernard Scott and Larry Johnson. Johnson has a similar story to Benson's in wearing out his welcome in Kansas City with diminished productivity and off field trouble to find a home in Cincinnati albeit in a limited role. Scott is more of an elusive back but runs with authority.
All five linemen for Cincy are above average run blockers. The good news is the weakest of the bunch might be center Kyle Cook. The bad news is guards Bobbie Williams and Evan Mathis are two of the best run blocers in football. The matchup between them and Sione Pouha might dictate which team wins this battle of strength against strength. This will be a game for the four man front we saw against Miami of Pouha, Howard Green, Marques Douglas, and Shaun Ellis. The Jets need to get as big as possible to match up to counter the physicality of Cincinnati.
The hitting will be brutal. We know the Jets bring lumber. The question is how black and blue the Bengals will want their starters to get a week before the Playoffs in a game that doesn't have a ton of meaning for them. Even if they win the battle, they will have to pay for it.