Despite recent victory, Gang Green travels to the Queen City as the underdog for Saturday's playoff game.
One would think that, after destroying the Bengals 37-0 only one week ago, the confidence level of the New York Jets would be as high as their nickname states they can fly.
However, there's just a little bit of a problem with that attitude: The Bengals are coming to play for real this time and these big cats have some claws.
Instead of facing career journeyman J.T O'Sullivan, they will be staring at a cool and confident Carson Palmer who, after facing the Steelers and Ravens each twice every season, knows a thing or two about beating tough defenses.
There won't be a tired and formerly great Larry Johnson running the ball for Cincinnati. Instead, they will have arguably the year's best comeback story Cedric Benson (he of the 1,251 rushing yards this season) trying to control the clock and move the chains.
Just based on those two components alone, the Jets will have a much tougher task than they did last week. Oh, and they may have to attempt to shut down those players without their leading tackler LB David Harris. He's questionable with an ankle sprain.
To win this game in hostile enviornment, New York is going to have depend on the rushing attack in an even bigger way than before. The last thing they want to do is put the game in the hands of their rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez. Running back Thomas Jones is going to have to go the Fountain of Youth one more time and hope that it hasn't dried up yet.
The Jets can win the game. However, there is a palpable sense that Cinderella's coach (no, not Rex Ryan) is rapidly turning into a big, green pumpkin once 4pm Saturday rolls around.
Bengals 24, Jets 20
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Written by Frank Mazzola