Monday, January 4, 2010
Quick Take: Jets at Bengals
By James Walker
Three things to know about Saturday's Jets-Bengals wild-card game (4:30 p.m. ET, NBC):
1. Cincinnati needs to shrug off Sunday’s loss.
Blame it on lack of urgency. Blame it on playing vanilla. But the New York Jets gained a lot of confidence in pounding the Cincinnati Bengals, 37-0, Sunday night.
Cincinnati (10-6) already clinched a playoff berth before this game. But New York (9-7), in a must-win situation, looked impressive by jumping out to a 27-point halftime lead when Cincinnati's starters were on the field.
Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer struggled mightily, completing one pass for zero yards and an interception. Jets Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis shut down receiver Chad Ochocinco (zero catches), and Cincinnati also struggled to stop New York's running game.
These are all building blocks for the Jets in preparation for next week.
2. Bengals need to get physical.
Cincinnati won 10 games and the AFC North division this year by establishing their physicality. But in the past month, the Bengals have lost their edge.
Both the Jets and the Minnesota Vikings dominated the Bengals at the line of scrimmage in two recent losses.
This is a major concern for Cincinnati. New York is another blue-collar team, which punches you in the mouth on both sides of the football. The Bengals need to be better prepared for it.
3. Can the offense get back in rhythm?
Cincinnati's offense has looked shaky down the stretch. The Bengals are averaging just 12.75 points in their past four games.
New York is bringing the NFL's top defense to Cincinnati for the playoffs. The Bengals got a taste of it Sunday night, as they gained just 72 yards of total offense and five first downs. But Cincinnati should play much better offensively at home.