When the NY Jets had their masterful 2022 offseason, there were quite a few brave souls out there that drew parallels between this year's Jets team and last year's Cincinnati Bengals team.
The biggest similarities between the two were quite obvious — a second-year head coach with his second-year QB looking to turn a perennial loser into a newfound winner. Here are a few others:
There are still quite a few other similarities that haven't been mentioned, just ask C.J. Uzomah.
"I don’t love comparing certain situations, right? Like every team is different, but there’s similar attributes to this organization to what we’re trying to build now. We’re getting pieces that we need, we’re getting some veteran presence in here to mold some of the younger guys, we got a great young talented quarterback, we got some great pieces on the perimeter, we have a really good [offensive] line, our defense is gonna be our defense, they’re gonna do them."- C.J. Uzomah
It should also be noted that both Bengals head coach Zac Taylor and Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur are disciples of the Shanahan coaching tree, a prestigious list of offensive masterminds who have coached 50% of the participants of the last four Super Bowls.
Yet, conventional wisdom disregarded these comparisons since Joe Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase, and Joe Mixon were superstars arguably even before making it to the NFL. The Jets had players that probably would be decent to play with in Madden, but they were almost an entirely unproven bunch.
Now, at the Week 10 bye that they both share, it is clear that the 2022 Jets are at least very similar to the 2021 Bengals if not the same. Going strictly off of their records at their respective Week 10 byes, the Jets are actually better.
At 5-2, the 2021 Bengals actually lost two straight (including this thriller) to enter the bye 5-4, third in the AFC North. As you already know, the Jets are currently sitting pretty at 6-3 and could actually lead the AFC East if the Bills lose to the 7-1 Vikings this week.
The Bengals got hot and rode their heatwave all the way to the Super Bowl — averaging 28 points per game en route to a 5-3 second half to the season.
The Jets' heat is on the other side of the ball, and while they've already been hot (15 points per game allowed in the last five), finishing on an equally hot note could make a 5-3 finish easily attainable.
Right now, those series of coin tosses from August have just as good of a shot of predicting the future as any of us, but I'd say based on what we've seen from the first half of the season and how these franchises are constructed, that the 2022 Jets are indeed the 2021 Bengals.
So much long-suffering from these two franchises, desperate to turn it around with a promising young regime. Before last year, this is the type of stuff Bengals fans endured:
We are Jets fans — I need not remind you how much suffering we've endured. I won't remind you that we have the longest active playoff drought in the NFL by a large margin (sorry, it slipped!).
The good news is, the playoff win drought ended for Cincy with their magical 2021 run. Something tells me that with these gritty 2022 New York Jets, our drought is coming to a close as well. Get ready for some January ball!