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Jets vs. Bengals: Bilal Powell Could Return to Center Stage


Last week against the Patriots Chris Ivory took the bulk of the playing time for the Jets. There were some reports Bilal Powell was a bit banged up. Although it was not the most efficient game on the ground, Ivory's 104 rushing yards played a key role in the Jets' victory. Could this mean the primary job is now his?

That might not be the case. This week the Jets might lean on Bilal Powell. Powell is the better rounded back, and the Jets might want to lean on him more in the passing game against Cincinnati's talented front. We have discussed Geno Atkins and the problems he can give rookie Brian Winters. The Jets are going to have to use Nick Mangold to help Winters a lot. That leaves D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Austin Howard will be left alone against athletic edge rushers Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap. Johnson is nowhere near his 11.5 sack pace from a year ago, but PFF notes he has 9 hits on quarterbacks.

The Bengals can also bring pressure from the second level. Vontaze Burfict is averaging 1.7 pressures per game, and Cincy has longtime Steelers standout James Harrison.

This game feels like it has less Ivory and more Powell written all over it. The Jets are going to want to give Geno some safe passes to get him confidence early and slow down the pass rush, which means utilizing Powell's receiving skills. They also will want Powell in there to pass protect and provide chips on the edge rushers where possible.

Ivory had over 100 yards against New England, but he might be in the background this week.