Bengals vs Jets: Top 5 storylines for Week 1
For the upcoming Bengals vs Jets game, here are the top five storylines to know heading into this Week 1 matchup.
After a long offseason, it’s such a great feeling to know that football is finally back! Heading into Week 1, it’s the Bengals vs Jets in what should be a huge test for both teams looking towards another memorable year.
The Bengals are a team on the rise that seems to play great football during the regular season but when it matters most, they choke. They haven’t had a victory in the NFL Playoffs in about 25 years and knew their overall defense is what has been holding them back in the postseason. They made the necessary changes and are anxious to see if it helps break their playoff curse.
The Jets, on the other hand, are coming off a 10-6 season with a lot of hope that they can also end their playoff drought. The tone of the season will easily be set in this matchup as both teams will do their very best to start the season 1-0 and build off of that momentum. Keep in mind that the Jets lead the regular season series 15-8-0 as history is on their side to leave this game victorious.
Without further ado, here are the top five storylines heading into this Week 1 matchup.
5. Two key injuries for each team
Unfortunately for both the Bengals and Jets, each team will have a key injury to deal with in this Week 1 contest. It will prove the “next man up” mentality but at the end of the day, could have a serious impact on the outcome of this game.
As per Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com, the Bengals will be without their premier tight end, Tyler Eifert. He’s officially declared out for this game due to a severe ankle injury he suffered at the 2016 NFL Pro Bowl.
The Jets, on the other hand, might be without their star linebacker and leader on defense, David Harris. As per Connor Hughes of NJ.com, Harris is listed as questionable against the Bengals due to a shoulder injury. Harris is a tackling machine and hasn’t missed a single game since 2008.
Should Harris miss this game, the Jets’ defense will look to a young linebacker corps put to a tough test right out the gate. Even though the Bengals are without Eifert, their offense is a pretty efficient one thanks to everything quarterback Andy Dalton brings to the table.
4. Revis Island will get help
Whether you believe he’s on the decline due to his age (31-years-old) or he’s still an elite cornerback, Darrelle Revis is ready for his 10th season in the NFL. Last year, it’s been well-documented that Revis didn’t do so well against some of the elite wide receivers he was assigned to keep in check.
The Jets, knowing that the Bengals’ offense isn’t one to mess around with, will be giving Revis some help in covering their top receiving option, wide receiver A.J. Green. In an article written by Connor Hughes of NJ.com, here is what defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers had to say about how the Jets plan to handle Green:
“It won’t just be Revis,” defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers said Thursday. “It’ll be a lot of people.”
Expect to see Revis not only get help in covering Green but the Jets’ defense swarming after Dalton to put him in a position to make costly mistakes. It’s imperative they shut down Dalton so it also turns their offense into a one-dimensional unit. If the Jets want to have a shot at winning this game, it will come down to how Revis and company handle Green.
3. Bengals trying to get past their Gang Green demons
As previously mentioned, the Jets hold a 15-8-0 record against the Bengals and even though it’s been 25 years since they last won a playoff game, kind of have their own green and white demons to slay.
The Jets, back in 2009 helped add to the misery the Bengals had to continue enduring as they beat them not once but twice in a span of two weeks. They embarrassed the Bengals that year in their season finale and beat them again in the playoffs.
Both teams tend to put up a fantastic game against one another but the truth of the matter is, the Bengals will get psyched out if it’s a game where they start off strong but can’t seal the deal.
But as always, it’s all in their heads. The Bengals might start off strong but let silly mistakes, penalties, and turnovers seal their fate. Should this be a close game, the Jets will continue to haunt their dreams if they let a nailbiter slip away in this regular season opener.
2. The emergence of Giovani Bernard
With all eyes more than likely being on Dalton and Green for the Bengals, keep in mind that this will be the year that the football world witnesses running back Giovani Bernard put everything together. He’s been below the radar for the past few years, but as Bernard enters his fourth season with the Bengals, this will be his time to shine.
It all starts against the Jets as Bernard is one of the top dual-threat running backs playing today. So far in his career, he’s totaled 2,105 rushing yards, 492 rushes, and 12 touchdowns. As a receiving option, Bernard totaled 1,335 yards, 148 receptions, and five touchdowns.
Bernard has had a solid offseason of preparation and is ready to make some serious noise. All week long fantasy football owners have preached about how this is the game that will make Bernard one of the top sleeper picks of the year.
It wouldn’t be shocking if the Bengals’ game plan heavily involves using Bernard to create huge mismatches to keep the Jets’ defense guessing as to what is coming next. Since Eifert is out and Green will be seeing a ton of coverage from the Jets’ defense, this could very well be a huge game for Bernard.
1. Remembering 9/11
Besides being a very competitive game, emotions will be running high as it’s 9/11 weekend. It’s a time where the hashtag #FootballIsFamily comes to life as fans everywhere remember those we lost in the September 11th attacks.
It’s easy to take for granted all the luxuries we have in life but in the grand scheme of things, we should applaud all the great men and women that serve in protecting our country on a daily basis. Sure, all of us are reading, writing, and getting ready for another memorable season ahead but never forget the sacrifices they make so we can actually enjoy football.
Both teams will have commemorative hats/shirts/decals to wear during pre-game ceremonies and right before kickoff, MetLife Stadium will give fans in attendance American flags to proudly wave to the masses.
Overall, it’s going to be a great game between two teams looking to prove their worth. Both will come out swinging but in the end, only one team can keep their head up high while the other gets ready to break down what happened and quickly get ready for their next opponent. Either way, for a brief moment in all the preparations leading to this matchup, it’s a time to remember the impact 9/11 had on our country and how we still have the freedom to watch the game we all love to this very day.