Monday, January 4, 2010
Quick Take: Jets at Bengals
By Tim Graham
Three things to know about Saturday's Jets at Bengals wild-card playoff game:
1. The Jets can't afford to feel like they've arrived. Now that the Jets have qualified for the playoffs, they need to understand their season hasn't been made. I recall the scene in the visiting locker room at the Meadowlands a year ago, when the Dolphins won the AFC East title on the final day. The Dolphins carried on as though the mission had been accomplished and glowed with those championship ball caps atop their heads. Then they got destroyed a week later by the wild-card Ravens. The Jets need to remember that making the playoffs doesn't prove much. They must maintain their edge if they want to reach the second round.
2. The Jets must keep Mark Sanchez on the periphery. Head coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer have regulated their rookie quarterback by limiting his number and types of his throws (i.e. the chance for giveaways). In each of Sanchez's past five victories, his number of attempts has been in the teens and his yardage never topped 153. On Sunday night, he completed 8 of 16 attempts for 63 yards. If the Jets' dominant run game can boost the offense to the point Sanchez doesn't have to throw downfield, then they'll have a great chance.
3. What transpired Sunday night should resonate in Cincy. The Jets shouldn't assume the Bengals will be apprehensive about the rematch, but over the next six days the AFC North champs are going to have to come up with ways to pull off a 38-point swing. Even if we consider only the time Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer was in the game and throwing to Chad Ochocinco and apparently trying to win the game before halftime, the Bengals will need to get 27 points better. That sounds like an awful lot.