Donâ€™t look now, but the (8-7) New York Jets are coming. After doing the unthinkable by defeating the (14-0) Indianapolis Colts on the road, 29-15, the New York Jets control their own playoff destiny. If the Jets are victorious against the (10-5) Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday night, New York will secure a playoff berth in the AFC and have as good a chance as any team to excel in the playoffs.
The Jets defeat of the Colts may be questioned because of Indianapolisâ€™ decision to bench its starters for the better part of the second half. One thing that cannot be questioned is the New York Jetsâ€™ defense, which held Peyton Manning and the Colts offense to 15 points, an offense that averages 27.3 on the season. The Jets defense withstood the movements and formation shift of the Coltsâ€™ offense in the process of proving why their defense is ranked number 1 across the league.Â Â
A similar defensive effort will be needed this week, as the Jets, in their final game in Giants Stadium, play host to Carson Palmer and the Cincinnati Bengals. The emotionally strapped Bengals are only two weeks removed from the death of teammate Chris Henry. Cincinnati will come to play the Jets equipped with the leagues 6th ranked rushing offense and try to impose their will on the ground. Though the Bengals have one of the leagueâ€™s best running attacks, Cincinnati will have trouble running against a Jets defense that ranks number 1 in rushing yards allowed. Â For Cincinnati to be successful, the Bengals must win on defense and force Jets rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez into creating turnovers.
For the Jets, Mark Sanchez still must prove that he can carry his own weight and win games on his own. Without Sanchezâ€™ rapid development, the Jets will not go deep in the playoffs and could possibly be eliminated on Sunday night by Cincinnati. New York must rely on their number 1 ranked rushing offense led by Thomas Jones, which is producing 166.6 yards per game on the ground. If the Jets can run the ball on the Bengals defense and limit Carson Palmers completions to Chad Ochocinco, New York can punch their playoff ticket.
Sundayâ€™s game against the Bengals will either make or break their season the New York Jets season. Â One game will determine if they are heading to the playoffs or if they are getting ready to go on an early vacation. Unlike the Jets, the Bengals donâ€™t have quite as much at stake in Sunday nightâ€™s matchup. Cincinnati has already clinched a playoff berth and will either be the 3rd or 4th seed depending on the result of the Patriots vs Texans matchup.
The New York Jets will end a three year playoff drought and defeat the Cincinnati Bengals. Though the Bengals have the better record, they are not the better team, the Jets will complete their final game in Giants Stadium with a win.Â The Jets will win.