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New York Jets vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Keys to victory

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On Sunday, the 2016 football season will begin for the New York Jets. From Sunday until October 30th, when the Jets play the Browns, they will end up facing some of the NFL’s toughest quarterbacks from Andy Dalton to Russell Wilson to Carson Palmer. In the early part of the season, the Jets don’t face an elite quarterback in Week 2 (against Buffalo) and Week 8 (against Cleveland). The gauntlet for the Jets starts right out of the gate.

They welcome the Cincinnati Bengals with Andy Dalton and AJ Green to Metlife Stadium at 1 pm on Sunday. The Jets lead the series against the Bengals 15-8 (2-0 in the playoffs). The Jets are going to want to seek revenge against the Bengals who embarrassed the Jets 49-9 in Week 8 of the 2013 NFL season.

Well, here are three keys for each team to start the 2016 season 1-0.

The Jets will win if:

They can get the running game going

One big area fans of both teams will need to focus on is the run defenses as both teams didn’t allow their opponents to get more than 100 yards on them. The Jets running back core had 1,868 yards for an average of 4.2 per carry.

Over a game, the Jets running backs would average 116.8 yards per game. It helps a team to plan better if they don’t need to rely on the arm of their quarterback that much. The Jets run defense allowed 1,335 yards per game for an average of 3.6 yards per carry. Over the course of a game, the Jets defense would allow 83.4 yards per game.

They can convert on 3rd and 4th downs

The Jets were not bad here as they were able to convert the ball roughly 40% between 3rd and 4th downs. I’m looking more at the 4th down conversions where the Jets were below their opponents. I am a firm believer that if you want to win a game in the NFL, you don’t want to give your opponent “free yards.” So if you’re the Jets, either convert on 3rd downs or try to pin the Bengals deep in their territory.

Get to Andy Dalton as often as possible There is a saying that it is very tough to win a game if your QB is on his back a lot of times. Andy Dalton is more of a pocket passer and does not do well if he needs to get out of protection.

There is a saying that it is very tough to win a game if your QB is on his back a lot of times. Andy Dalton is more of a pocket passer and does not do well if he needs to get out of protection. If you are the Jets, I would make it be a long day for Andy by forcing him out of the pocket. Also by forcing Andy Dalton to be out of the pocket more times than being in the pocket, he is bound to throw into coverage that he doesn’t like.

The Bengals will win if:

They can get the running game going

Like the Jets, the Bengals were a team that used their running backs often. They had 1,805 running yards and would get a carry of roughly 3.9 yards. Over the course of the 2015 season, they would average 112.8 per game. On the other side, the Bengals run defense allowed 1,477 yards last season with carries that would be around 4.7 yards. Also, opponents would get roughly 92.3 yards per game.

Let Andy Dalton pass the ball

The Bengals have a great running game, but once in a while, they need to allow Andy Dalton to throw the ball. He has a great target in AJ Green, and if he and Andy Dalton can connect, it will be a long day for the Jets secondary. There are also other pieces for Andy Dalton, and you want to keep the Jets defense on their toes and try something that they are not expecting.

Convert on 3rd and 4th downs

Like the Jets, the Bengals were able to convert the ball on both 3rd and 4th downs. Their conversion on 3rd downs was 40.3% and on 4th downs was 58.3 %. This is great to have because the Bengals were able to keep their drives alive.

I hate the fact of a Week 1 game being a major game, but I think this is a major game for both teams. Since the other AFC East teams have some flaws as do the Jets, the Jets have a shot to jump out in the division early. For the Bengals, the AFC North is expected to be competitive this season as the Bengals will be competing with the Ravens and the Steelers for the AFC North title.

However, you can only have one winner in an NFL game, and I think in a close battle, the Jets will irk out the win 23-20. There are many areas where both teams pretty much wash each other out. I am expecting this to be a typical AFC game as you have two decent offenses, and the Jets have a good defense.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]