Jets vs. Bengals" width="140" style="margin: 3px; border: black 1px solid;">Drink up Jets fans. The Jets are going all the way to the Super Bowl. That is of course if you listen to Jets head coach Rex Ryan. There is no doubt Coach Ryan believes in his team, and has his player’s confident heading into Cincinnati this coming Saturday. Perhaps a little to confident. You can’t blame his players for getting behind their coach, but Jets fans should know better.
The Flight Crew certainly believes the Jets have a dominant defense. Bob Bullock from nj.com feels pretty sure that the Jets can go on a little run. Jetsfan.com also believes the team has perfect formula for postseason success. Anyone else?
The Jets finshed the regular season with a record of 9-7. The teams final two wins of the season came against teams that pretty much laid down for them. If Peyton Manning stays in the game in week #14, the Jets lose and are out of the playoffs right now. Do you seriously think the Bengals gave it their best shot last week? Not even close. I give the Jets credit for taking care of business the past 2 weeks, but it seems to me that these two wins may have gone to their head. Does Coach Ryan seriously think his team should be favored to win it all?
Now why would Coach Ryan be so confident? Well, he does have the #1 ranked defense, along with the #1 ranked running attack. Sounds like a winning recipe for success, especially in the playoffs. So why is it the Jets are the least favored team in the playoffs? Let me offer a few possibilities.
The Jets “top-ranked” defense is pretty much the same defense that has blown 4th quarter leads in week #5 against the Dolphins in Miami (31-27 loss), week #9 against the Jaguars at home (24-22 loss), and in week #14 against the Falcons at home (10-7 loss). Playing at home against the Falcons (in what was thought of at the time as a “must win”), the Jets managed only 7 points against the Falcons before blowing the game. Let’s not also forget about the teams loss in week #6 against the Bills (16-13), a game that the Jets held a 10-point lead in the 3rd quarter, before going on to lose.
The point is great defenses make stops when it matters. Have Jets fans forgotten about these losses already? Although the Jets do have an excellent defense, with the potential to be great- lets not anoint them the next coming of the 1985 Chicago Bears just yet. It’s not all about the numbers.
The Jets have had great success running the ball this season. They better have, because they certainly haven’t been able to move the ball in the air. Jets rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez has not shown any reason to be confident in his ability to come up big when it matters. He has been careless with the ball, and routinely has made bad decisions in the face of pressure. What’s worse is that Mark has not been able to learn from his mistakes. Mark seems like a good kid with a great future- but what exactly do you expect from a quarterback with only a year of college ball behind him? If the Jets do lose on Saturday, you can pretty much count on Mark to seal the victory for the Bengals with a turnover or two.
It’s likely the Bengals defense will stuff the box with 8 or 9 guys, and force Sanchez to beat them in the air. Sounds like a pretty good plan to me. If this does indeed happen, will Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer counter by throwing on early downs? My guess would be no. Especially early in the game.
The Jets best chance to win the game will still be finding a way to run the ball successfully. However, I wouldn’t count on the Bengals defense from last week showing up. Do you really think Brad Smith is going to run wild out of the Wildcat this week? I have a funny feeling this will be the week the Jets really start to miss Leon Washington, the team’s only real playmaker from the line of scrimmage.
Some say the playoffs are a totally different season. We shall see. On the bright side, a good argument could be made that the best matchup the Jets could have hoped for- would be a re-match against the Bengals. Believe it or not, I’m a lifelong Jets fan. I’ll be rooting for them. Chances are I’ll also be quite thirsty during the game- just don’t ask me to drink the Kool-Aid.