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Friday, January 8, 2010
Final Word: Jets-Bengals

By James Walker
ESPN.com

AFC: Ravens-Patriots: Graham | Walker Jets-Bengals: Graham | Walker
NFC: Cowboys-Eagles: Mosley Packers-Cardinals: Sando | Seifert

Three nuggets of knowledge about Saturday's wild-card game between the New York Jets (9-7) and Cincinnati Bengals (10-6):

Cedric Benson
Cedric Benson and the Bengals will be facing the NFL's No. 1 defense.
Bounce back: The Bengals are trying to shrug off last week's 37-0 loss to New York, but the Jets gained a lot of confidence in the victory. Cincinnati rested several starters and was vanilla with its offensive and defensive schemes. Cincinnati's poor tackling and penalties in that loss are a concern. According to Elias Sports Bureau, there are 13 cases in NFL history in which teams met in the final week of the regular season and first week in the playoffs. The team that lost in the regular season is 8-5 in playoff rematches.

Fresh legs: Starting tailback Cedric Benson has been a workhorse for Cincinnati with 301 carries for 1,251 rushing yards. That is why Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis gave Benson last week's game off against the Jets. Now Benson has fresh legs for the matchup against the NFL's No. 1 defense. New York is big and physical up front. The Bengals are 6-0 this season when Benson rushes for more than 100 yards.

Look at QBs: The Jets and Bengals are very similar, but the biggest difference could be at quarterback. New York has rookie Mark Sanchez, who has thrown 20 interceptions this year. Cincinnati has two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Carson Palmer, who has been very efficient this season with 3,094 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and an 83.6 passer rating. The focus of both teams will be on stopping the run. Therefore, it's likely one of these quarterbacks will have to make plays to keep the chains moving.