An inside look at Sunday’s Jets-Bengals Week 8 matchup at MetLife Stadium:
Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase vs. Jets defensive backs
Chase is on pace to run away with the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. The 21-year-old is having a season for the ages. Chase has 754 receiving yards, the most in NFL history through a player’s first seven games. He is second in the NFL in receiving yards behind the Rams’ Cooper Kupp (809). Chase leads the league in receptions of 40 yards or more with six.
He put up 201 receiving yards against the Ravens last week. It will be a massive challenge for the Jets’ young secondary to slow him down.
“He’s a stud, man, which everyone knew coming out [of college],” Jets head coach Robert Saleh said. “What he’s doing for this Cincinnati team is very similar to what Deebo Samuel did for San Francisco his rookie year when he just kind of unlocked a lot of different things offensively for a lot of the guys and everyone’s gotten better. They’re already good and they’ve gotten better because of his presence. … They’re hitting on all cylinders. They’re a problem.”
This feels like a game in which the Jets have no chance. Even if the Bengals don’t play their best game, they should beat the Jets, who will be without starting quarterback Zach Wilson and No. 1 receiver Corey Davis.
Bengals 35, Jets 17
Mike who? The Jets on Sunday will start their 36th different starting quarterback since Joe Namath left town in 1976. Mike White will be the man under center. He will be the 13th different starting quarterback for the Jets since 2012 and the ninth since 2016.
White is a mystery to most since he only played his first game last week, after Zach Wilson was injured. The 2018 fifth-round pick of the Cowboys has been with the Jets since 2019, mostly on the practice squad. Now, White will try to lead the Jets to their second win of the season and not put too much pressure on himself.
“ I think you can’t think about that,” White said. “Not only a quarterback thing, but once you add more pressure to it, you start to mentally lock up and then do things that aren’t in your realm. So, I think personally, I’m trying not to think of anything of that nature. Just go out there, play my game, have fun with my guys. I’m starting an NFL game, so that’s pretty freaking cool.”
Roaring Tigers: The Bengals’ offense is rolling. The unit has been held to fewer than 20 points just once this season, and has scored 34 and 41 in the past two weeks against the Lions and Ravens. Second-year quarterback Joe Burrow is second in yards per passing attempt (9.22) and third in yards per play (6.2). Cincinnati is seventh in scoring offense, averaging 27 points per game and 13th in total offense, averaging 369.6 yards per game.
“It’s going to be a fantastic challenge,” Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich said. “I start with kind of the explosive reel which, it wakes me up and these guys, they’re starting to roll and catch some steam and momentum right now.”
Trey day: The Bengals signed pass rusher Trey Hendrickson to a four-year, $60 million deal this offseason, and they are getting their money’s worth. Hendrickson has 6.5 sacks already and is sure to give the Jets’ offensive line headaches. The Jets looked at Hendrickson in free agency, but opted to sign former Bengal Carl Lawson instead. Lawson ruptured his Achilles tendon in August and is out for the season.
“He’s exactly what Cincinnati purchased, basically,” Jets head coach Robert Saleh said of Hendrickson. “He’s a fantastic player. Plays with a lot of effort. He pants the flag in the middle of the field in terms of what you want out of a football player.”
In no rush: The Jets’ defensive line showed what it was capable of in the win over the Titans, sacking Ryan Tannehill seven times. But in their past two games they have just one sack combined. What has happened?
“It starts upfront, it’ll always start upfront,” Saleh said. “We’ve got to dominate and dominate the line of scrimmage. And then from there, we’ve just got to keep our feet in the ground and play fast. It really is that simple. It’s win one-on-one battles, pressure the quarterback, win in the run game.”