The New York Jets have squeaked into the playoffs with a sound 37-0 trouncing of the Cincinnati Bengals in what is most likely the last football game in the history of Giants Stadium. The Jets tumultuous season has lead many to speculate that this team is "one and done" in this years playoff rounds.
Most do not have the Jets getting past their first round opponent, the Cincinnati Bengals. The current spread on the game is Cincinnati by 2.5…not too bad actually, when you consider that home team automatically gets three.
None-the-less it is a slight on the Jets chances.
Call me a crazy Jets fan but I can give you 5 good reasons why the Jets will beat not only the spread but the Bengals as well.
The Mental Game
Argue all you want about the Bengals having virtually nothing to play for in the regular-season finale, but getting knocked around to the tune of 37-0 is bound to leave some devastating mental wounds. I don’t care what anyone says, no team lays down for a beating like that on purpose. The Bengals failed to establish any part of their game and nearly lost their top receiver Chad Ochocinco in the pre-game warm ups. Most worrisome is Carson Palmer who just looked awful for 3 quarters. Just a few weeks removed from the death of receiver Chris Henry, this team entered the final season game already sputtering and emotionally spent. Now add to that the pressure of righting this ship against a team that has just handed you your collective asses and you have a recipe for disaster all laid out. Many a team have crumbled under far less pressure.
A Horrible Record Outside The AFC North
While the Bengals went 6-0 in the AFC North, they managed a pitiful 1-5 record against the rest of the conference. The Bengals can’t seem to get out of their own way when it comes to games against teams not in the AFC North. One good thing to note, that one win outside of their division? It happened in week 2 against the Green Bay Packers.
The Mark Sanchez Mystery Show
The Bengals got huge doses of the Jets defense and the running game, but Mark Sanchez and the passing game remained a bit of a mystery for the most part. The lack of a significant passing game in the last match-up will force Cincinnati to rely heavily on game film. Lets face it, after a season of full on rookieness from Sanchez…there won’t be much there to see either. Should the rookie actually have a decent game on Saturday, the Bengals could find their pass defense befuddled. Another note worthy point, Brad Smith. He has proven to have the ability to be rather lethal out of the Wildcat as a runner and you can’t discount his strong arm.
Too Many Injuries
DT Pat Sims broke his forearm, landing him on injured reserve. Receiver Chad Ochocinco, safety Chris Crocker and defensive lineman Domata Peko all said they will be ready to play in Saturday’s playoff game but you have to question how ready any of these guys will be facing the leagues number 1 defense and arguably the best offensive line in the game. A hobbled Ochocinco against a dominant Darrelle Revis does not bode well for Cincinnati. The Bengal’s defensive line has been plagued by injuries which is a big concern and has really shown the last three weeks.
New York’s Overwhelming Run Offense
The Jets come into the game with the leagues best rushing offense, averaging a solid 172.2 yards per game on the ground. While it is true that the Bengals have the fourth best overall defense (7th against the run) in the league this year, I think the combination of Thomas Jones, Shonn Greene, Tony Richardson, Danny Woodhead and wide receiver Brad Smith may be too much for them to handle. Each had a YPC (yards per carry) average of over 4.2, with Shonn Greene blasting opposing run defenses to the tune of 5 YPC. Brad Smith, who showed some real razzle / dazzle in the last match up, had 207 yards on 18 carry’s with a whopping 11.5 YPC this season. The Jets offensive line will also be a factor here. Should the front 5 dominate physically, the Bengals could be in for a long day of grounding and pounding.
Xander Diaz is Editor-In-Chief for AFCBeast.com.