By Tyson Rauch
On Sunday the New York Jets (4-3) go on the road to take on a very talented Cincinnati Bengals (5-2) team at Paul Brown Stadium. The Jets are looking to build on their exciting win over the rival New England Patriots while the Bengals are rolling having won three games in a row.
The Cincinnati offense features a dynamic passing attack that is ranked 10th in the National Football League. Quarterback Andy Dalton has several weapons to choose from including Pro-Bowl receiver A.J. Green (43 catches, 619 yards, 5 tds), tight ends Jermaine Gresham (28 catches) and Tyler Eifert (22 catches), as well as the explosive rookie running back Giovani Bernard (497 all-purpose yards).
By Tyson Rauch
The New York Jets defense must find ways to get pressure on quarterback Andy Dalton and disrupt the passing game. Over the last couple of weeks Gang Green has struggled to cover the tight end position and the unit could be exposed once again if they do not generate a consistent pass rush. The Bengals are going to put a lot of pressure on the Jets safeties and linebackers to make plays on pass defense.
Beware of Bernard
The Cincinnati running game features two backs that can wear down a defense. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is a move the chains type of runner while Giovani Bernard is an explosive playmaker that can take it to the house once he gets past the line of scrimmage. The Jets front seven must contain Bernard and wrap up the rookie ball carrier preventing the big play.Bernard is also a dangerous receiving threat out of the backfield, which could present some problems for the Jets linebackers.
One of the best in the NFL
Statistically the Cincinnati Bengals defense is one of the best in the NFL. The Bengals are ranked 8th against the run, 13th against the pass, 7th in points allowed, and 9th in total yards. If the New York Jets are going to have any type of success against the Bengals defense the offensive line will have to approach the game very physically. The line must contain Geno Atkins (4 sacks) and Carlos Dunlap (4 sacks) and give Geno Smith time to get the passing game going.
Heavy dose of Ivory
Running back Chris Ivory is coming off of his first 100-yard game of the season and the same type of effort will be required on Sunday. Ivory’s violent running style could help the Jets establish their running game and assist in putting together time-consuming drives. Gang Green could once again feature Josh Cribbs in the wildcat role to keep the defense off balance.
Keep Kerley active
Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley emerged as Geno Smith’s go-to guy against the Patriots and it would not be surprising to see Gang Green feature the explosive pass catcher once again. Kerley is very dangerous in the slot position and opens up the vertical passing game when he draws extra coverage. Tight end Jeff Cumberland will also be asked to take on a larger role as the Bengals defense is going to try to put a lot of pressure on Geno Smith.
Avoid the letdown
The New York Jets cannot afford an emotional letdown against the Cincinnati Bengals. The AFC North division leader plays a physical style of football and will beat up the Jets if they come out flat. Gang Green must match the intensity of the Bengals and come out with some swagger of their own. If the Jets can weather the early storm they could find themselves with a chance to win heading into the fourth quarter.
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Tyson Rauch is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.