Continuing my predictions for the New York Jets 2013 season, we will now dive head-first into week eight, where the up-and-coming Cincinnati Bengals will be waiting for them. And by waiting, I mean crouching, ready to pounce.
Even though I am a Jets fan, I have been high on the Bengals for a while (and yes, it did have to do with having A.J. Green on my fantasy team). They are a team that continues to improve, and with the teams in their division either too old, too young or too depleted, the Black and Orange could make quite a run. However, as with my week-seven prediction, it will be a joy to watch this game as a Jets fan. Geno Smith should be the starter at this point, and will be willing to do anything to see the range of his capabilities.
Let’s go further in-depth with the factors:
Offensive Factor: Jeremy Kerley. While it is true that Smith’s talent is enough to keep the Jets in the game, he must have someone to catch his passes. Kerley was by far the most productive Jets receiver last year, and that was with the inept Mark Sanchez. Kerley is good in the slot and will be vital to moving the chains down the field. Hopefully by this point in the season, Stephen Hill will be coming into his own, but that will mean little if the Bengals can put all of their coverage on him.
Defensive Factor: Carlos Dunlap. As my associate Michael Terrill recently wrote, Dunlap has been given a contract extension and deserved every penny. His dominant play will only get better this season, and quite frankly, I do not believe the Jets’ offensive line will be coherent enough to withstand Dunlap and the rest of his defensive line — a strong point in the Bengals defense.
X-Factor: Jermaine Gresham. I was also pleasantly surprised when I put Gresham into my fantasy line-up. His numbers last year were decent enough (737 yards and five touchdowns) to warrant him as a viable threat in the upcoming season. And as I’ve been stressing all month, the Jets are weakest at the Safety and Linebacker positions on defense. If Gresham has a productive game, it could turn into a bloodbath.
Score: Bengals — 24 Jets — 16
Jeremy is a Jets writer for RantSports.com. Follow him/her on Twitter JeremyGoldstei1, “Like” him/her on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.