It is not often that an NFL Week 2 preseason contest comes equipped with superb roster battles and storylines worthy of the regular season, but that is exactly what fans will get when the Cincinnati Bengals host the New York Jets Saturday.
Cincinnati lost its first preseason game to the Kansas City Chiefs, but plenty was revealed about the impressive depth of the roster and what battles to focus on the rest of the way before final cuts.
New York, with head coach Rex Ryan on what should be his final chance, is attempting another rebuild, this time after a .500 affair. The Jets nabbed a meaningless win last week, but hosting Cincinnati appears to be something the players have had circled in red pen all offseason.
Just ask defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, as captured by ESPN.com's Coley Harvey: "We owe them one. We owe them one big time. That was pretty much the only team that dog-walked this defense like that."
Dog-walked indeed, if fans will recall that 49-9 blowout. One Andrew Whitworth is not all that concerned, obviously:
That's good. We want their best. Sometimes for older guys -- especially myself, who have played as much as I have -- it's kind of disheartening when you go out there and guys are playing, but not really playing. You want people to bring their best. You want to get better. That's what [the preseason] is for.
So Saturday's contest has a bit of a kick to it, which should keep the level of play at an entertaining level throughout despite it being an exhibition. Read on for a full breakdown.