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Don't Expect Repeat In Bengals-Jets Rematch

David Campbell@CampbellSportsContributor IJanuary 4, 2010

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 03:  Rex Ryan, Head Coach of the New York Jets, has Gatorade dumped on him by players at the end of the fourth quarter in celebration of their 37-0 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals at Giants Stadium on January 3, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

On the surface, Sunday’s 37-0 whipping at the hands of the New York Jets seems to be a bad omen for the Cincinnati Bengals. But in reality, how much bearing does it have on this weekend’s playoff game?

Absolutely none whatsoever.

The Jets won a game they needed to win. The Bengals played a game they were told to play. It was apparent that although Cincinnati played most of its starters, it was not going to go into the contest with all guns blazing.

New York did everything it needed to do. The Jets ran the ball, they pulled off gadget plays, they were big on defense. In many respects, the Jets looked like an unstoppable force, a team that is ready to roll through the playoffs.

But like your mother once told you, don’t always believe what you see. And as Princess Leia once remarked, “They let us get away. It’s the only reason for the ease of our escape.”

While the Jets were playing like a cornered rat, biting and clawing to get out alive, the Bengals looked like a bored house cat. The Jets may scamper by with a block of cheese, but the Bengals showed no interest in chasing after.

For many, it seems to be a dangerous way to play a game. After all, the Bengals are still a young team and turning the fire on and off isn’t as easy as some fans believe.

But consider a couple of things before you buy into the hype that the Bengals are merely a roadblock in the Jets’ quest for the Super Bowl. One, the wind chill was five degrees at kickoff and only got colder as the game wore on. Would you really want to play in a game with nothing at stake in that kind of weather?

And two, how much of its hand did New York show? The Jets seemed to pull out all of the stops in putting 37 points on the board. How much does an already offensively-challenged team have left in the tank?

A week from now, we’ll have all of the answers and its possible the Jets will be in full media darling mode by then. But if they believe they saw the best Cincinnati can offer, they may be in for a rude awakening.

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