One matchup has dominated the news in the lead up to this game, Chad Ochocinco vs. Darrelle Revis. The two are very different people. Revis has won an award for his quiet demeanor. Ochocinco so loves the spotlight, he legally changed his name to match the numerals of his jersey number in Spanish. The are similar in one important way. Both have elite talent for their respective positions. Ochocinco has 72 catches for 1,047 yards, and 9 touchdowns this year. Revis has spent his season not getting the better hand of elite receivers but totally dominating them. He is fast enough and has the cover skills to avoid being beaten deep by Ochocinco and becoming the subject to one of his elaborate touchdown celebrations. We'll see whether that happens.
Aside from him, the Bengals don't have a ton of weapons in their passing game. They haven't needed any either winning a division title as the only team in the league aside from the Jets to run more often than passing. Chris Henry's injury before his tragic death took away a second deep threat. Old friend Laveranues Coles hasn't really stepped up to replace departed T.J. Housmandzadeh. LC only has 40 catches for 495 yards. We may have questioned the decision at the time, but letting Coles walk hasn't really hurt the Jets. Gang Green has to feel good about Coles matching up with Lito Sheppard. Andre Caldwell has blazing speed. Cincy has been using him out of the slot. It will be important for the blitzes to get to Carson Palmer quickly because Caldwell is faster than the man who will be covering him, Dwight Lowery. Rutgers product Brian Leonard has developed into a good receiving threat out of the backfield for Cincy. He'll be one to watch on screens trying to catch the Jets being overaggressive.
Cincinnati's passing game focuses on getting the ball to Ochocinco, though. Although Revis' reputation has grown in league circles, teams haven't stopped attacking him. He's responded with an incredibly high incompletion rate and 6 interceptions. The Bengals will try to get him the ball, figuring he can fight for it. Based on what we've seen this year, the Jets love any one on one matchup involving Revis. If Palmer has too much faith in his receiver, he might be the one who makes a critical mistake in a game of field position between two strong defenses and run games.
We also may not see much of Palmer if the game means nothing to the Bengals. This team doesn't want to leave its quarterback exposed. Cincy lost Palmer back in the 2005 Playoffs when he sustained a devastating injury. They'll probably have a very quick hook unless they are playing for something. There won't be need to have him out there against an aggressive pass rush. J.T. O'Sullivan could see action. If that happens, I don't see the Bengals opening up the playbook for him. It will become even more of a battle between run games and defenses.