After their latest statement win, the Jets are eying perhaps a bigger win this Sunday against the 5-2 Bengals.
It will take a complete effort from the top team in the AFC North, who have won three straight and have wins over Pittsburgh, Green Bay and New England. It will be a tough test for the Jets, especially on the road, as the Bengals are 3-0 at home.
Three things to watch for …
1. Bengals go Green
Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green is putting together a complete performance in what should be his third Pro Bowl appearance. He leads the Bengals in receptions (43), receiving yards (619) and touchdowns (five) and accounts for 32 percent of their passing offense.
“What does the kid not have? He has size, speed, athleticism, route running, great catching radius,” Jets head coach Rex Ryan said. “Like I said, in my opinion, he’s probably the best receiver in the AFC. There are some good receivers, but in my opinion, he’s probably the best.”
2. Grounding it
A big part of the Jets’ win in Week 7 over the Patriots was their ability to get the running game going. Chris Ivory stepped up with his biggest game as a Jet, with 34 carries for 104 yards. That rushing total was more than his past four rushing totals combined.
“He’s a very physical back. He’s getting much better at pass protection,” Ryan said.
It could be an emerging combination, especially with the solid running from Bilal Powell this season.
“Powell is an all-around back, [with] excellent out of the backfield,” Ryan said. “He’s outstanding in protection and he has his own running style. He kind of mixes in vision [and] power. So, both those backs are very good.”
Even with the loss of Mike Goodson for the season, the Jets are still the No. 7 rushing offense in the league.
3. Green light for Geno
One week up, one week down— so goes the development of quarterback Geno Smith in his rookie season. If Smith can manage this game, like he did in Atlanta three weeks ago and against the Patriots last week, then the Jets can win at the Bengals. But against an aggressive pass rush and a secondary that jumps to the ball very well, he better limit his mistakes … or else it could be a long afternoon.
“I definitely want to continue to play consistently,” Smith said. “That’s something I have been working extremely hard at. [I have] been beating myself over about [it] because I know with that consistency at the quarterback it usually leads to success with the team. That’s something I’m trying to do, something I pride myself in, being a consistent decision maker. That’s what I have been trying to do and it’s something that has really hit home with me as of late.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.