On Sunday, the NY Jets come back home to take on the former AFC Champions, the Cincinnati Bengals. While the Bengals are 0-2 on the year and haven't played great, this is a game the Jets still can't take lightly, as the Bengals could switch on a dime.
The Bengals come to Metlife Stadium having lost their last two games to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 and the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2. This Bengals team hasn't looked good at all, and the Jets could capitalize on this, but it won't be easy. Here are three keys to victory for the Jets.
1. The NY Jets offensive line must contain the Bengals pass rush
This is arguably the biggest key to victory on this list. The Jets' offensive line has done well, especially against Myles Garrett and the incredible Browns' defensive line last week. The Jets' offensive line only gave up two sacks, and four quarterback hits.
While this may seem like a lot, it's really not, especially when it's against the likes of Myles Garrett. This week, the Jets have to contend with the Bengals' pass rush. Last week, the Bengals' pass rush only sacked Cooper Rush once and had five quarterback hits.
If the Jets can buy Joe Flacco some time and hold off the Bengals' pass rush, this could help with getting the ball into the Jets' receivers' hands. The Bengals know what went wrong last week and their pass rush could prove to be lethal for the Jets.
2. The NY Jets must get Garrett Wilson involved
In the first week of the season, Garrett Wilson played his very first NFL game. In this game, Wilson finished with four receptions for 52 yards with his longest reception being 13 yards. It was a fine debut, however, something clicked between Flacco and the rookie wide receiver in Week 2.
Wilson would go on to pick up eight receptions for 102 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner. He was targeted 14 times last week by Flacco which is five more targets than anyone else had. Wilson showed why he could be the new WR1 for the Jets and that has to roll over into this week.
With Elijah Moore and Garrett Wilson playing on the same offense, the Jets could utilize this to their advantage. Both Moore and Wilson are great wide receivers and this could be a big problem for any defense to cover.
Most likely, Chidobe Awuzie will be tasked with covering Wilson this week. Awuzie is no slouch and has played great, so the Jets will need to play this carefully.
3. The NY Jets must go after Joe Burrow early and often
This one will fall completely on the Jets' defensive line. The Bengals' offensive line has been brutal these past couple of weeks, and this is perfect for the Jets.
In Week 2 against Dallas, the Bengals allowed six sacks and nine quarterback hits. That's one less sack than the seven the Bengals allowed in Week 1 against Pittsburgh.
Although the Jets may not have any T.J. Watt or Micah Parsons on their team, this is something they are capable of going. Last week, the Jets only sacked Jacoby Brissett once and hit him five times. The pass rush definitely needs some work, but it can be possible to fix.
The Jets' secondary has improved since Week 1, which is a plus. If the pass rush can follow suit, the Jets could knock off the former AFC Champions. Last week, Burrow only threw for 189 yards and a touchdown. With Burrow not playing like his usual self, the Jets could capitalize on this and come out of Week 3 with a win.
At the end of the day, the records don't show the whole tale. The Jets are 1-1 on the year, while the Bengals are 0-2. Perhaps the biggest key to victory that isn't written above is don't underestimate the Cincinnati Bengals. This Bengals team made it to the Super Bowl last year and can easily turn their season around.
The Jets must be ready and attack early and often without letting up. They can come out of this week with a win, but it could be their hardest game to date on the new campaign.