Upcoming Match-ups

NFL Betting – Will Bengals Roar at NYJ?

Sascha Paruk

by Sascha Paruk in NFL Football

Updated Jan 17, 2018 · 9:39 AM PST

Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5, 41.5 O/U) at New York Jets

The Cincinnati Bengals (12-4, 12-2-2 ATS) have to be anxious to take the field for their first meaningful action since last season’s playoffs. This team might be used to losing in the Wild Card round – they’ve done it five straight years – but no one is used to losing like that. Cincy can start to erase that painful memory next Sunday when they take on the New York Jets (10-6, 8-6-2 ATS) at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford (Sep. 11, 1:00 PM Eastern).

On offense, Cincy’s hopes will be pinned on the trio of Andy Dalton, AJ Green, and Jeremy Hill. Dalton and Green are both coming off excellent seasons – indeed Dalton was in the MVP conversation before a thumb injury ended his year prematurely – but Hill took a step back in his sophomore season. He looks like he has his “burst” back, according to some, but was one of the key cogs in last season’s playoff loss, fumbling the ball late in the fourth quarter to set up Pittsburgh’s game-winning drive.

It remains to be seen whether he can be the true workhorse the Bengals need with TE Tyler Eifert on the shelf for at least six weeks.

The Jets authored their own painful collapse last season, but theirs came the week before the playoffs. In a win-and-your-in game against the Bills in Week 17, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three fourth-quarter picks – on three straight drives – as New York fell 22-16 to their division rival.

The debacle was unexpected, to some extent, as Fitzpatrick had been enjoying a career year, posting highs in both yards (3,905) and touchdowns (31).

Evidently, the Jets saw enough from the veteran to hand him back the reins to the offense this year, eventually inking “Fitzy” to a one-year, $12 million deal after protracted negotiations.

Fitzpatrick will once again have talent on the outside with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker set to manhandle smaller corners on a weekly basis. He’ll also have the services of newly acquired running back Matt Forte, who’s a big threat in the passing game.

The Bengals have a deep and balanced defense, and are solid at corner with the (infuriating) Adam Jones and Dre Kirkpatrick. But the Jets’ offense doesn’t have to be spectacular if the defense lives up to expectations.

New York has one of the best defensive lines in the league and finished second against the run last year, allowing a meagre 83.4 YPG. They also boast shutdown corner Darrelle Revis in the secondary.

That’s a great combination heading into a matchup with Cincinnati. The Bengals have one top-flight receiver in Green, but Brandon LaFell and rookie Tyler Boyd are now the next two on the depth chart. Buster Skrine, New York’s number two corner, should be able to matchup with either.

The Bengals come into Week 1 as road favorites, despite myriad injuries. Dalton will have a hard time recreating the magic of yesteryear given that Eifert won’t be in the lineup and Jones and Sanu are wearing different uniforms. I expect the run-stuffing Jets to bottle up Hill and eke out a narrow victory in their home opener.

Pick: NYJ (+2.5).

Photo credit: emeybee [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

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