It’s finally time for some New York Jets football! It all starts Week 1 in the Bengals vs Jets game that will set the tone for the rest of the season.
Sep 1, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles on the sidelines during the first half against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
We’ve spent months upon months speculating about what could happen and it’s finally time to find out what will happen. But before we get to that, there’s still more time for some analysis.
The New York Jets are heading into this season with their eyes set on the NFL Playoffs, after a disappointing end to the season. While the Cincinnati Bengals are looking to win a playoff game for the first time in Marvin Lewis‘ career.
The Bengals will be dealing with a myriad of injuries heading into this one. While the Jets are staring at one of the toughest schedules in the NFL.
While this may seem like a hot take, this game could have huge playoff implications once we get to the end of the season. Both teams are hungry and talented and ultimately it’s going to come down to these top five keys if the Jets want to start the season 1-0.
Next: 5. The only thing you have to fear is fear itself
Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) is helped off the field as head coach Todd Bowles looks on during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 22-17. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
5. The only thing you have to fear is fear itself
The first key to this game is getting over the jitters. Not only because this is the season opener, but because of how last season ended.
You have to go into the game and this season with a focus on the next play, not in the past. Also, that should be the same mindset if something goes wrong during the game.
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw 15 interceptions last season, it’s inevitably going to happen. But when it does, the team has to have short-term memory loss, because the last time these two teams played it wasn’t pretty.
49-9 in fact and the game was a turnover bonanza. The Bengals are going to come out swinging, the Jets have to be ready to take their punches and be ready to bounce back.
Next: 4. Darrelle Revis vs A.J. Green
Oct 5, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) intercepts a pass intended for Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) but was nullified by a penalty during the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. New England Patriots defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 43-17. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports
4. Darrelle Revis vs A.J. Green
The premier matchup is the best player on the Jets and the best player on the Bengals. Revis has a chip on his shoulder from all the naysayers from last season.
Despite the fact from a statistical standpoint, Revis was among the best in the league at his position. Ahead of Sunday’s big game, head coach Todd Bowles was asked about the matchup, here’s what he said courtesy of the Media Relations Department of the Jets:
On the Darrelle Revis-A.J. Green matchup on Sunday…
Like I said, they’ve got a lot of other people. That’s just one of many matchups. It’s a team effort and we’ve got to pick our spots and I’m sure they have to pick their spots. It’s not even about Revis and Green, it’s about us against them. They’ve got so many talented players that you can’t just look at one matchup.
All of those targets have to go somewhere this season and many expect them to be fed to Green. Which should equate to a busy afternoon for Revis and should end up being one of the biggest matchups of Week 1.
Next: 3. Suspensions
Aug 11, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson (91) during the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Several suspensions are going to play a major part in Week 1 for the Jets and Bengals on both sides. Firstly for the Jets, they’ll be without defensive end Sheldon Richardson for the first game of the season.
Which means the Jets will have to rely on defensive end Leonard Williams to fill the void on their defensive line. While on the Bengals side, they’ll be without perhaps their best player in linebacker Vontaze Burfict.
These teams will be missing a key cog on their defenses, which changes the way they operate. Both of these players are knuckleheads and have made poor choices, but obviously, the talent is still there.
Arguably the Bengals are suffering the bigger loss because it’s not like they have a first round pick waiting to step in. That’s the benefit of drafting the best player available on draft day.
Next: 2. Overcoming the battle in the trenches
Aug 28, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap (96) looks on prior to a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports
2. Overcoming the battle in the trenches
The Jets are going to be without the services of their starting right tackle for the first six games of the season. Which means that Bengals’ star defensive end Carlos Dunlap will often be lined up against the mismatch.
Dunlap led the Bengals with 13.5 sacks last year and he leads a very intimidating defensive line for Cincinnati. While it’s a tall order for the Jets, coach Bowles didn’t hold back in his analysis, courtesy of the Media Relations Department:
On impressions of Carlos Dunlap…
Other than he’s good? Everything. He’s a complete player. He works at it and you can see it, and he plays the same way every week. Even with preseason or regular season, he’s always playing hard.
The Bengals finished in the top-10 in sacks last year, while the Jets were one of the best teams protecting their quarterback. Who wins this trench warfare, will more than likely win the ball game.
Next: 1. The Flight Crew is biggest key
Dec 19, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) celebrates with wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) after scoring a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
1. The Flight Crew is the biggest key
The biggest key to the game will be the entire Jets flight crew vs the Bengals secondary, without question. The Bengals are facing a ton of issues back there in the injury department.
As a result, for the Jets to win this game, they have to take advantage of the mismatch. It’s more than just wide receiver Brandon Marshall, they’re going to need a team effort.
While a huge issue for the Jets last year was the lack of a third option on offense. This season the Jets have wide receiver Quincy Enunwa and even running back Matt Forte coming out of the backfield.
There isn’t a lack of options for the Jets, it’s just a matter of getting the job done. This game should come down to the wire and is one of the most intriguing matchups of the Sunday slate.