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Defense Will Take Center Stage When The Bengals Host The Jets

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With Leon Hall out for the season, the onus of shutting down opposing passing games will fall squarely on the shoulders of players such as Dre Kirkpatrick. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images.
With Leon Hall out for the season, the onus of shutting down opposing passing games will fall squarely on the shoulders of players such as Dre Kirkpatrick. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images.

The Cincinnati Bengals will take a three-game winning streak into Sunday's match-up against the New York Jets, one of the premier defenses in the league this season. The way the Bengals' offense has looked this season, and with the weapons they have, it is hard to predict what the team’s game plan will be for this contest. On the other sideline, the Jets also have a struggling offense but are limited with the amount of playmakers they have.

The Bengals are coming into this week's game after a narrow victory over the Detroit Lions. QB Andy Dalton, who threw for a season-high 372 yards, is on a high right now as he looks for his third straight 300-yard passing game. His top weapon, WR A.J. Green, has scored touchdowns in consecutive weeks and should continue to remain the key cog in the offensive attack. Several other weapons in the passing game – including WR Marvin Jones, TEs Jermaine Gresham and rookie Tyler Eifert – will continue to see plenty of targets this week to add to the passing game's effectiveness.

This week, the game plan should contain only a few running plays. The Jets’ defense ranks second in the league in defending against the run, which means there will likely be very few running lanes for RBs BenJarvus Green-Ellis and rookie Giovani Bernard. While the Jets also rank 10th against the pass, they have been exploited more times through the air than on the ground.

The Jets have very few weapons on the offensive side of the ball. To start, the Bengals will go up against another young quarterback in rookie Geno Smith. While Smith has led the Jets to victory with come-from-behind wins in their wins this season, he has been unable to produce unless the game is on the line. The goal this week for the Bengals would be to jump ahead early and make it impossible for Smith to pull off a comeback, especially against their top-10 defense. On the outside – with WR Santonio Holmes still out due to injury – the Jets will line-up WRs Stephen Hill (317 yards and a TD) and Jeremy Kerley (319 yards and two TDs). Although both players have put up solid seasons thus far, neither is considered a true threat to the Bengals’ defense.

Prediction: Bengals 31, Jets 17

The Bengals win streak will reach four games after this weekend's victory. The Jets just do not have enough weapons on offense to put up points against a top defense like Cincinnati's. Even without CB Leon Hall, who is out for the season with an Achilles injury, the WRs for the Jets will not be able to do much against Terence Newman, Adam Jones and Dre Kirkpatrick. As for the Bengals' offense, Green will have another big game, probably putting up a line of 7-130-1 and open up the underneath routes for the other receivers. Green-Ellis, who does not see much time on passing downs, should cede a lot of his snaps to Bernard, who should post 4-6 catches and force the defense to keep an eye on him.