Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Five things to watch: Bengals at Jets
By Tim Graham
The New York Jets will resume their high-wire act at 8:20 p.m. Thursday, when they play the Cincinnati Bengals at the Meadowlands.
I give you five questions to consider about the game from a Jets perspective:
Can the Jets win a game without requiring divine intervention? The Jets are on an obnoxious roll of dramatic victories. They've played like a team of destiny, repeatedly catching breaks and capitalizing in the final moments to remain atop the AFC East. Jets head coach Rex Ryan has been unapologetic about his team's improbable success, but I'm sure he'd love to survive Thanksgiving without indigestion and win a home game comfortably.
Can the Jets make the Bengals quit? The Bengals can be explosive, as they showed in the first half Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. The Bengals also can implode, as they did in the second half. The Bengals surrendered 35 unanswered points and folded before our eyes, helping the Bills win for just the second time. The Bengals are mentally fragile. If the Jets can crack them early, then the game should turn into a rout.
Will Darrelle Revis be above average against Terrell Owens or Chad Ochocinco? T.O. has been dismissive of Revis this week, calling the All-Pro "an average corner to me." Owens has been the catalyst for Cincinnati's offense and is among the league leaders with 62 receptions for 897 yards and eight touchdowns. Ochocinco has been quieter, but remains dangerous. Revis and Antonio Cromartie will see plenty of action, which means they'll have opportunities to make big plays.
Does Shonn Greene continue to get the majority of carries? Through the first eight games, Greene rushed more times than LaDainian Tomlinson just twice. But in each of the past two weeks, Green has been getting more attempts. Tomlinson continues to take his touches in the passing game, but it appears the Jets are transitioning into a winterized ground game while also preserving the 31-year-old Tomlinson down the stretch.
How can Mark Sanchez outdo himself? Maybe he'll help old ladies cross the 50-yard line while the Jets' defense is on the field. Maybe he'll rescue a cat stuck in the rafters during pregame warm-ups. Maybe he'll help change tires for stranded motorists on the Jersey Turnpike at halftime. Maybe he'll stage an Oprah-style "My Favorite Things" show in the parking lot. It has been that kind of month for the second-year quarterback.