The New York Jets should have a successful day if they accomplish these goals
This afternoon, momentum will meet desperation as the New York Jets (1-1) play host to the Cincinnati Bengals (0-2).
If the Jets want to continue riding high after last week’s emotional comeback win, they can do it by accomplishing these three goals.
1. Sack Joe Burrow 4+ times
Yesterday, I broke down the mismatch between New York’s defensive line and Cincinnati’s offensive line. The Jets have a chance to do some colossal damage against one of the NFL’s most woeful offensive fronts.
Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has been sacked a league-leading 13 times, an average of 6.5 sacks per game. The Pittsburgh Steelers brought him down seven times in Week 1 and the Dallas Cowboys followed with six takedowns in Week 2.
It would be phenomenal if the Jets could at least match Dallas’s total of six sacks, but I don’t think they necessarily have to get that far. Looking at Burrow’s career, the magic number is four.
In his career (regular season), Burrow has a record of 10-6 when he is sacked no more than three times. Dating back to last season, Burrow has won four straight games when taking three sacks or less.
When he is sacked at least four times, Burrow is 2-9-1. That includes a record of 0-4-1 on the road.
A quartet of sacks should do the trick.
2. Get 2+ takeaways
Yes, the turnover battle is important for every football team in every football game. I know it’s a low-hanging fruit as a “key to the game”, so rest assured: I wouldn’t just mention it for any game.
The reason I bring it up here is that the Bengals depend on ball security even more than most teams.
Since 2021, Cincinnati is 10-3 (.769) with one or zero turnovers compared to 0-6 when turning the ball over at least twice. That’s a win percentage difference of .769, which is the third-largest among all teams over the past two seasons. Only the Packers (.933) and Patriots (.800) have a greater difference in their win percentage with ≤1 turnovers versus 2+ turnovers.
For perspective, the league-average margin over the past two seasons is .386. Teams have a win percentage of .644 with less than two turnovers and a win percentage of .258 with two turnovers or more.
3. Get the RBs involved in the passing game
Cincinnati’s defense often has trouble with stopping running backs from wreaking havoc in the passing game. Last year, the Bengals ranked sixth-worst with 45.2 receiving yards per game allowed to running backs.
Since 2021, when the Bengals allow an opposing running back to hit 45 receiving yards, they have a record of 1-4. That includes their loss to the Jets last season, when Michael Carter (95 yards) and Ty Johnson (71 yards) dominated as receivers. Just last week, Cowboys running back Tony Pollard caught four passes for 55 yards in a win over Cincy.
The Bengals’ issues with covering running backs will be exacerbated this week as starting linebacker Germaine Pratt is going to be sidelined due to injury.
New York shouldn’t look to totally copy their gameplan from last year’s win over the Bengals – with their improved cast of weapons on the outside, they don’t have to rely as heavily on checkdowns as they did in that game – but it would still be wise to feature their running backs in the passing game fairly often. Make the Bengals prove they can stop Carter and Breece Hall through the air.