Tomorrow afternoon, the Road to MetLife Stadium brings us an interesting matchup. MetLife Stadium’s own New York Jets, with Geno Smith, Mo Wilkerson and company, take on the Marvin Lewis led Cincinnati Bengals. It’s a matchup of friends at the head coach position, as former staff members of the Ravens, Marvin Lewis and Rex Ryan, take center stage with their teams tomorrow.
Both teams are coming off of thrilling victories. We know about the Jets, off of the comeback win over the Patriots in overtime. The Bengals are coming off a big one of their own, beating the Lions last week by a score of 27-24, as Mike Nugent put a 54 yard field goal between the uprights as time expired.
This one won’t be easy to win, but it is doable. Here are some keys:
COME OUT AHEAD IN CROMARTIE VS GREEN MATCHUP: This game within the game will be a great one. A.J. Green is a top performer, and playing particularly well in recent weeks. So far in 2013, Green has posted 619 yards and five TDs. He is coming off of back to back 100 yard outputs, in Buffalo and Detroit.
It hasn’t been the best year for Antonio Cromartie, in part due to injury. He has yet to record an interception or a pass defended in 2013. He played better last week against New England, as did most of the pass defense. This matchup will be one to watch, and will do a lot to determine the outcome of the game.
STOP THE TWO TIGHT ENDS: Well, they may not have been as well-known as the “Gronk” and Aaron Hernandez, but they are a consistent duo that is tough to stop. The two tight ends for the Bengals are tough. Jermaine Gresham has posted 28 receptions for 274 yards so far, and rookie Tyler Eifert has amassed 22 receptions for 270 yards and one touchdown.
The safeties will need to be up to the task. Antonio Allen, Josh Bush, Dawan Landry, and Jaiquawn Jarrett had better come with their best stuff on Sunday, or Andy Dalton and his two friends will have a good time in the middle of the field.
ATTACK OF GENO SMITH: We know that the Jets’ defense is ranked fourth in the league. Does anyone know where the Bengals are ranked? Ninth! Personally, I didn’t realize their defense had gotten that good. They are no slouches, that’s for sure.
They are also ranked in the top ten against the run, allowing less than 100 yards per game. Where they fall off a little, to #13, is in pass defense. The Bengals are allowing a 57% completion rate, and a passer rating of 83.2. They can be beaten down the field, tied for seventh most passes allowed of 20+ yards with 23. Geno Smith should have some openings in the down field passing game this week. He will have to take advantage of them. This will open up the run, and give the Jets a chance to be balanced.
These are my keys. What are some of yours?