Following their bye week, the Jets were somewhat sluggish and comatose in New England most of the afternoon and were routed 54-13. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick again took out his strange sense of vengeance and rubbed the Jets’ nose in it with some meaningless scores.
Jets head coach Robert Saleh and his staff stressed cleaning up the miscues after a 1-4 start, but instead, lost QB Zach Wilson for a few weeks due to injury. Salah’s defense was ineffective for the first time all season against New England as it allowed 550 total yards.
Now, the Jets won’t get a break when they welcome red-hot Cincinnati into the Meadowlands Sunday. The Bengals are coming off a 41-17 pasting of the Ravens in Baltimore and have impressively won four of their last five games.
The Jets will turn to three-year practice squad quarterback Mike White, who will make his first NFL start. In his first NFL action last week, White had a workmanlike effort in relief of Wilson, completing 20 of 32 passes for 202 yards with one touchdown and a pair of interceptions. It continued a trend for Jets quarterbacks. Wilson and White have combined to throw a league-high 11 interceptions.
The Jets traded to bring back Joe Flacco, but he likely will be inactive Sunday. Journeyman Josh Johnson will back up White. Saleh said he wasn’t reluctant to turn to White.
“First, we have a lot of faith in Mike,” the first-year head coach said. “Mike has done a hell of a job. He’s earned this right to go out there and play on Sunday and show what he’s capable of. I can’t speak for Joe Flacco on that. Obviously, as a free agent, he has opportunities and the decisions he makes are personal, obviously. But we’re happy he’s here now and we’re excited to get to work with him.”
Rookie RB Michael Carter has emerged as the Jets’ lead back and has run hard (202 yards, 2 touchdowns), but the overall ground game has to improve. It ranks last in the NFL at 72 yards per game and has scored four touchdowns. Carter did catch eight passes last week, which should be a good sign.
WR Corey Davis (24 receptions, 349 yards, 4 TDs) has been a prime target, but the Jets have to find a way to unleash game-breaking threats in rookie WR Elijah Moore (9 receptions, 79 yards) and WR Denzel Mims (4 receptions, 79 yards).
Overall, the Jets have scored a league-low nine touchdowns. Three of them came in their win over Tennessee on Oct. 3.
Defensively, the Jets are hoping for the return of leading tackler and emotional leader LB C.J. Mosley, who missed last week with a hamstring injury. Before the New England game, the Jets were among the top five teams in red zone defense.
Jets Dealing With Key Injuries
Speaking of Mosley, he initially saw limited action in practice, but his time has increased during the week.
“My reps have been getting better, and it’s still a day-to-day thing,” said Mosley, who has 45 tackles and one sack. “As long as things keep progressing the way it is, it will look like I will be playing Sunday.”
The Jets likely will be without RB Tevin Coleman (hamstring), TE Trevon Wesco (back), LB Quincy Williams (concussion), and DL Bryce Huff (back). None of them have practiced all week.
S Ashtyn Davis (shoulder), LB Shaq Lawson (wrist), and TE Tyler Kroft (back) saw limited practice time this week, and each one will be close to a game-time decision.
Bengals Offense Is Humming
The Bengals are 5-2 and sitting atop the AFC North. They have risen into the top half of Super Bowl odds at most sportsbooks.
QB Joe Burrow has developed into one of the league’s top signal-callers with 1,956 passing yards (ranked sixth in the league) and 17 touchdown passes (ranked fourth). He also has thrown eight interceptions (ranked third), but he has evolved into a dynamic team leader. The Jets will need to pressure Burrow, who has been sacked 19 times this season.
RB Joe Mixon is third in the league in rushing with 539 yards (88.3 yards per game) and has scored four touchdowns.
Rookie WR Ja’Marr Chase truly has been a game-changer. He caught eight passes for 201 yards last week against Baltimore, and he is second in the league with 754 receiving yards. Chase is averaging a league-high 21.3 yards per catch and has six touchdowns.
WR Tyler Boyd (32-329-1) and WR Tee Higgins (25-256-2) also loom as major threats on the outside. TE C.J. Uzomah (17-256-5) has been trouble in the red zone
Chase will present a major challenge for the Jets’ secondary, which does not have an interception this season.
The Bengals are relatively healthy with RB Chris Evans (hamstring) and C Trey Hopkins (knee) out.
DL Trey Hendrickson has seen limited practice due to a bad shoulder. Hendrickson has 6.5 of the team’s 19 sacks and has been important to the defense’s improved play this season. Cincinnati ranks fifth in the league in points allowed per game and 10th in yards allowed per game.
LB Logan Wilson is having an All-Pro season with 60 tackles and four interceptions. Safeties Vonn Bell (3 interceptions) and Jesse Bates II also have excelled.
The Bengals are 3-2 in the last five games against the spread. The Jets are 1-5 ATS this season. The Bengals have plenty of firepower, and White’s performance in his debut is unpredictable considering the Jets’ erratic offense.
Sports Betting Recommendations
Here are the odds from DraftKings as of Friday morning:
- Bengals -10.5 (Take the Bengals to cover)
- Total: 42.5 points (Take the over)
- Score prediction: Bengals 34, Jets 14