Bengals (2-8) at Jets (2-8
Thursday, 8:20 p.m. (NFL Network)
3 storylines to watch
1. Let It Wayne: Expect to see Wayne Hunter slotted in at right guard on Turkey Day, in place of Damien Woody, who injured his MCL in the second quarter of Sunday’s win. Though Woody was riding the stationary bicycle and did some agility training on Tuesday at practice, the language from Jets head coach Rex Ryan isn’t necessarily encouraging. Hunter, who can play either tackle position and also is a nose tackle in goal-line situations, conceded two sacks to Mario Williams in the second half against the Texans. Ryan, however, was upbeat about Hunter’s potential for Thursday. “We feel like we have the best backup tackle in football in Wayne Hunter,” Ryan said. “If Wayne has to play, we know he’ll do a great job – a good account of himself.” Hunter said on Tuesday that he was practicing as if he was going to start.
2. Thanksgiving Indigestion – This has the makings of a very ugly game. The Jets have played three straight emotional wins, two of which were in overtime, to get to the game with an 8-2 mark. The Bengals hold a mirror-opposite 2-8 record and have lost seven straight, including a blow-out loss on Sunday to the hapless Bills. With both teams coming into the game on a slashed week, bodies will be tired and the forecast for rain won’t help matters. The Jets have gone light this week, including a low-key walk-thru on Monday to start their preparations. “It’s more of a mental thing you do than a physical thing,” linebacker Jason Taylor said. “Obviously, you can’t pound on each other during the week with the quick turnaround. I think, for the traveling team, it’s a little harder.”
3. Air It Out – All season long, the Jets have been clamoring to find consistency in the running game as last year’s top rushing team has struggled to find a similar form. Only twice this year have the Jets had a runner top 100 yards in a game – and don’t look for that on Thursday. The Bengals secondary is a travesty, having lost four defensive backs in the loss to Buffalo last week. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw four touchdowns and 316 yards last week. The Jets’ ‘ground and pound’ might concede some turf to a passing game that saw Mark Sanchez throw for 315 yards on Sunday against a similarly poor Texans secondary.
Three Match-Ups To Watch
Darrelle Revis v. Terrell Owens: The prime-time match-up in this prime-time game will feature “Revis Island” against a receiver that is still arguably among the best in the game. T.O. called Revis, “just an average corner” after the Jets cornerback limited the Texans Andre Johnson to four catches for 32 yards last Sunday. Advantage: Jets
Antonio Cromartie v. Chad Ochocinco: Never mind that his name should be “Ochenta Y Cinco,” the Bengals Ochocinco is going against a physically gifted cornerback in Cromartie, and he knows it. “He’s so freaking rangy and it’s hard to gage where he’s at,” Ochocinco said. OchoCinco though, loves attention and Thanksgiving night is about as big as it gets. Advantage: Even
Jets v. Lactic Acid: It has been a grueling stretch for the Jets, who have twice gone into overtime in the past three weeks and now play on three full days rest on a national television audience. The team always lifts during the week but canceled gym time to give the players extra time to heal up. Plus, the Bungles had to travel and the Jets have enjoyed consecutive home games. Advantage: Jets