NFL Football Betting Preview
New York Jets (9-7) at Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)
Saturday January 9th, 4:30PM Eastern
Betus.com betting line – Bengals -3, 34 ½ O/U
The first of 3 different week 17 rematches will kickoff Saturday afternoon when the New York Jets travel to take on the Cincinnati Bengals in the first game of wildcard weekend for the postseason. The Jets destroyed the Bengals last week 37-0, but the Bengals also had most of their starters resting on the sideline during that contest because the playoff future was already set. However, this week their will not be any rest for either team because if you lose then your season is over. Also, the setting will be a little different this week considering last week’s game was in New York but this week’s battle will take place in Cincinnati.
The Jets had a tough road to get to the playoffs and were once written off for any chance at the postseason after a 4-6 start. However, the Jets rallied to win 5 of their last 6 games including that big victory over Indianapolis in week 16. The biggest factors during their impressive stretch of games has been strong play from the defense and getting big help from running back Thomas Jones on the offensive side of the ball. The Jets defense has been stellar giving up just 7.8 points over the last 6 games. The Jets pass defense has been extremely strong during that stretch holding Peyton Manning to one of his lowest passing performances of the year and then frustrating Carson Palmers’ playing time last week where he completed just 1 of 11 passing. If the Jets continue to shut down the pass, the Bengals only hope could be tailback Cedric Benson and I am not convinced he can win the game alone.
On offense the Jets have not put up any daunting numbers. QB Mark Sanchez has only passed for over 200 yards once in 7 games. Also, the Jets highest number of total yards was a rather low 331 yards against Buffalo during that same 7 game stretch and that should give you an idea to how well the defense is playing. The Jets offense has not had to put up any big points so they have constantly fed the ball to running back Thomas Jones. Jones has averaged 23 touches in the last 5 games and lingered around the 100 yard mark in each of those games outside of the loss to Atlanta where he was held to just 52 rushing yards. Jones is the key to the Jets success on offense and they need him to be around that 100 yard plus mark yet again. Sanchez has been quite erratic tossing 7 interceptions in the Jets last two losses and as a result his passing attempts have greatly decreased. So unless WR Jerricho Cotchery (841 yards this season) can make a big play against the Bengals secondary, the offense will rely on the legs of Jones.
The Bengals offense has to find a way to get the passing game going. Running back Cedric Benson has been pretty reliable rushing for 1,251 yards this season, but it is the passing game that will be the difference maker. QB Carson Palmer had a horrible performance against Minnesota and was held to just 92 passing yards. The loss to the Vikings started a downslide that led to the Bengals losing 3 of their last 4. Palmer was also held to 0 yards on 11 passing attempts last week. Sure the game did not have much meaning for the Bengals last week, but going just 1 of 11 passing is rather alarming. It is imperative that Palmer have a good outing and spread the ball around to their receivers. The Bengals will surely hope WR Chad Ochocinco will be fully healthy. Ochocinco missed the beginning of practice this week with a knee injury but is expected to play and for the Bengals sake they need him to be full strength. Ochocinco reached the 1,000 yard receiving mark to lead Cincinnati this week and is one of Palmers’ favorite targets. Also, if the Bengals do have success in the passing game keep an eye on WR Laveranues Coles who has a history of stepping up in big games.
Pick – Jets defense gets the job done again. Take Jets +3