When a player squares off against his former team for the first time or in a meaningful game, it seems to provide that extra spark to make the matchup even more interesting.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre squaring up against the Green Bay Packers in the postseason would arguably be one of the most hyped up games of all time. Even Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel facing his former teammates of the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl would draw some interest around the league.
No matter what, a player facing his former team—especially in the playoffs—makes an interesting matchup.
So why has there been no mention of Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Laveranues Coles facing his former team in the New York Jets">Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Laveranues Coles facing his former team in the New York Jets this weekend in the opening round of the 2010 playoffs?
Coles signed a four-year deal worth $28 million in the offseason to fill in the void as a No. 2 wide receiver after T.J. Houshmandzadeh left for the Seattle Seahawks. With his speed and experience as a top wideout in two stints with the Jets--not to mention two seasons with the Washington Redskins--Coles was expected to be a solid No. 2 option for Carson Palmer alongside Chad Ochocinco.
While Coles numbers have been decent in 2009, they still were still low enough to consider his first season with the Bengals a disappointment. Even though he managed to find the end zone five times, Coles receiving yards this season (514) are his lowest since his rookie season in 2000.
In the 16 games he's played in this season, Coles has been shutout twice and gone over 50 yards just three times--his best performance came against the Baltimore Ravens in Week Nine when he finished with six receptions for 72 yards.
On Saturday, Coles will face his former team when the Jets travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals for the second straight week. The only difference this time is the meaning of the game as the winner heads to the Divisional round of the playoffs while the loser begins their 2010 offseason schedule.
The Bengals have already completed their No. 1 goal this season by making the playoffs. Saturday begins a whole new season, as nothing from the last 16 weeks matters at this point. The only thing that matters from here on out is if Cincinnati can find a way to win the next four games in a row.
A strong performance Saturday and a win over his former team would be the perfect way for Bengals' fans to forget about Coles and his disappointing first season with his new team. Otherwise, the pressure will be on him heading into 2010, leaving fans reminiscing about how great of a No. 2 wide receiver Houshmandzadeh was.
Dan Parzych is the Cincinnati Bengals Examiner for Examiner.com
He is also the founder of WhoDeyBengals.com
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