New York Jets: Three stars from Sunday’s win over Cincinnati

New York Jets

Mike White and Michael Carter guided the New York Jets to a jaw-dropping victory over the AFC-leading Cincinnati Bengals.

Behind 405 passing yards from Mike White and 172 scrimmage yards from rookie rusher Michael Carter, the New York Jets earned a 34-31 win over the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals. White, making his first start in place of the injured Zach Wilson, earned the 11th 400-yard game in Jets history and first since Vinny Testaverde reached the mark on Christmas Eve in 2000.

With a huge win under their belts, the Jets (2-5) return to action on Thursday night against the Indianapolis Colts (8:20 p.m. ET, Fox/NFL Network).

ESM bestows three game balls from the jaw-dropping triumph..

Honorable Mentions

  • RB Ty Johnson: 86 total yards, 1 receiving TD
  • WR Jamison Crowder: 8 rec., 84 yards
  • WR Elijah Moore: 6 rec., 67 yards
  • WR/Ret. Braxton Berrios: 1 receiving TD, 29.5 kick ret. average
  • LB C.J. Mosley: 10 tackles (1 TFL)
  • DL Sheldon Rankins: 4 tackles (2 TFL), 1 sack
  • DL Quinnen Williams: 1 sack

3rd Star: LB Shaq Lawson

1 interception

A victory over the AFC leaders was child’s play for the Jets’ linebacker.

Lawson was in the holiday spirit when he arrived in East Rutherford on Sunday, as he was dressed like the horror film icon Chucky. He went on to become a nightmare for the Bengals, picking up the Jets’ first interception of the season at the perfect time. That crucial turnover situated Gang Green 14 yards away from the end zone as they went on to punch in the winning score via White’s touchdown pass to Tyler Kroft.

Mosley described Lawson’s takeaways as a “Hall of Fame defensive end type of play”.

“I think about Terrell Suggs doing that all the time, tipping the ball and getting it to himself,” Mosley said, per notes from the Jets. “What a great time to have that happen.”

“I didn’t even think I was going to get it,” Lawson himself added. “I’ve been fortunate these last couple of years. I scored last year, and a pick this year. That ain’t never happened like that. You always run to the ball, and being around the ball good things happen. that’s what we preach every day.”

2nd Star: RB Michael Carter

172 total yards, 1 rushing TD

Carter’s hold on the Jets’ primary rushing duties has grown over the past few weeks (though Johnson remained a factor through some big aerial gains). He had reached triple digits in yards from scrimmage before (doing so in last week’s disastrous visit to New England) but he made a major impact on the Wilson-free settings. Carter’s final tally is the fourth-best output from a Jets rookie running back. He’s also the first such rusher to reach that mark in consecutive weeks since Freeman McNeil in 1981.

“He’s a rookie, but he’s taken it as a vet,” Johnson said of Carter’s efforts. “I told him today, I was like, ‘Man, he was playing a lot. And I was like, ‘Hey man, I appreciate you. You took every single rep you had and you were on your P’s and Q’s, you were on your alignments, your assignments, and your execution.’ So, I was like, ‘Get your body right, let’s do it again on Thursday.’”

“He’s a rookie, but he’s proven that he’s built for this and he’s a vet in a rookie body.”

1st Star: QB Mike White

37-of-45, 405 yards, 3 TD

White’s first career NFL start became a national headline, one that was historic on both a team and national level. His final yardage total, already a rarity by Jets standards (joining Testaverde, Joe Namath, Ken O’Brien, Richard Todd, and Glenn Foley as the green quarterbacks to do so), is the second-best tally for a quarterback in his first start over the past six decades, passed only by Cam Newton’s 422 from his 2011 debut. The quarterback also tallied two of the game’s most important points by himself, literally taking matters into his own hands on a Halloween trick that saw Crowder loft a two-point conversion toss to him, creating the final 34-31 margin.

White was an obvious recipient of the Jets’ offical game ball bestowed by Saleh in the postgame celebration. The head coach confirmed that White earned the right to start Thursday’s game in Indianapolis.

Looking back on White’s Sunday showing, Saleh believed that his quarterback had something special brewing from his first possession. White completed 7-of-7 passes on the drives (part of a 10-of-10 showing to start the game) and the trek ended with the team’s first opening quarter points of the year via a six-yard scoring rush for Carter. That was enough for Saleh to put the game in White’s hands.

“Mike White was poised and took what the defense gave him, but also took shots when he had to,” Saleh said. “He came out comfortable and poised. He drove the ball right down the field and scored that touchdown. I was like, ‘Alright, let’s get this dude the ball and see what happens.’ I know we had some mishaps in the first half where we could have been even more explosive as it pertains to points, but to be down three at halftime despite three turnovers, to show the grit and grind that this group was fighting through. To be down 11 and come back, it’s a gritty group. It was awesome to see.”

White’s instant legend grew so large that fans began chanting his name in support.

“It was a lot of fun. Anytime you get to play football it’s fun,” White said of his first East Rutherford experience. “That’s what we all grew up doing and that’s what we all came to this level to do, so I embrace it, but I think I personally did a good job of not making it more than it is. What helped a lot too, was the coaches’ faith in me and the team’s faith in me. There wasn’t a flinch and guys were supportive, guys were rallying around me and it made it that much easier.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: 3 lessons to learn from Sunday’s resurgent opponent

joe burrow, bengals

MetLife Stadium’s Sunday showdown features two downtrodden franchises, but one paces the AFC. What can the New York Jets learn?

Going through the respective histories of the New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals is an exercise in futility and annoyance.

Nothing more needs to be written about the Jets’ 50-plus year championship drought, one only complemented by the longest active playoff drought in the NFL, a record they’re in absolutely no danger of losing at 10 years and counting. Cincinnati, meanwhile, is close behind (along with Denver and undefeated Arizona) at five years. but it’s been a full-on three decades since the Bengals have won a mere playoff game. The team is also the only member of the former American Football League that hasn’t captured a championship in the AFL or the merged NFL. Cincinnati’s relatively small-town settings away from the New York spotlight have perhaps helped them avoid the jokes and memes often sent the Jets way in reference to their lack of gridiron accolades.

Yet, as the star-crossed franchises prepare for a Halloween showdown at MetLife Stadium on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, CBS), the Bengals are the toast of the AFC. If the season ended today, the Bengals (5-2) would be the owners of the sole postseason bye on the conference bracket. Energized by the collegiate champion duo of Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati made a big statement through a one-sided victory in Baltimore last weekend. Their two losses, one of which was an overtime loss to the mighty Green Bay Packers, have come by a combined six points.

It’s not like there was any advance warning from Bengals: they won 13 games over the past three seasons and there was significant concern about their young superstars. Burrow was coming off a devastating knee injury sustained 10 games into his rookie season while the arrival of Chase carried the red flags of drops and not being an offensive lineman who could protect the young quarterback. As the second half of the season nears, the Bengals will likely be among the most popular choices among those in charge of flexible scheduling.

Conventional football wisdom suggests that the Bengals are prime prey for a trap game against the reeling Jets (1-5), but even the most optimistic Jets fan…that poor, poor soul… is dreading the Halloween nightmare that lies ahead.

The Jets are fresh off a 41-point defeat at the hands of the mediocre New England Patriots. New York won’t even have the services of its young franchise quarterback to work with, as a strained PCL will keep Zach Wilson out for at least the next two weeks. Gang Green will go into the aerial battle with Mike White, who will make his first NFL start while Joe Flacco prepares for his New York rearrival.

If anything, the Jets can take several lessons from a brother in futility…

A good tight end brings a right end

One of the Bengals’ veteran breakout stars has been tight end C.J. Uzomah. The seventh-year pro already turned himself into a popular, eternal Cincinnati trivia answer last season when he caught Burrow’s first touchdown pass before a torn Achilles ended his season prematurely. Uzomah’s receptions have been some of Cincinnati’s biggest energizers: of his 17 receptions, 10 have gone for either first downs or touchdowns. He was appropriately one of the biggest stars of the Bengals’ win over the Ravens on National Tight Ends Day, earning 91 yards on three receptions, two of which were good for long touchdowns.

Burrow believed he had something strong brewing with Uzomah in limited collaboration last year.

“I think he was our top target through two weeks last year…unfortunately, (he) went down with a knee injury early but we really clicked from the beginning with each other,” Burrow said, per Kelsey Conway of Cincinnati.com. Head coach Zac Taylor added in the same report that Uzomah has “found his spot”.

“Joe has a lot of confidence in him,” Taylor said. “He always makes plays when his number is called.”

The Jets are cursed with a laundry list of issues, so much so to the point where their tight end woes have almost been forgotten about. Their necessary removal of Chris Herndon netted them a fourth-round pick but Tyler Kroft, Ryan Griffin, and Trevon Wesco (a combined 110 yards through six games) have done little to pick up the slack. Tight end should undoubtedly be high on the Jets’ offseason to-do list, whether such help comes from free agency (a list that, in fact, includes Uzomah) or the draft (SEC standouts Jalen Wydermyer and Cameron Latu are among the options).

Find and establish a defensive identity

The Jets’ defense was one of the few silver linings about the first four games. What the unit was able to do with a hodgepodge of final camp cuts, day three draft selections, and rookie free agents was admirable, especially considering the awkward spots that offensive turnovers and struggles created for them. The pass rush (confirmed to be missing the services of former Bengal Carl Lawson for the whole season) was particularly impressive, earning 14 sacks through the first four games. That success was personified through a four-year extension via a four-year extension (featuring $30 million guaranteed) for John Franklin-Myers.

But consecutive no-shows have rendered the defense guilty in the ongoing struggles. They were able to salvage a poor first half performance against Atlanta in London with two turnovers but the brutality in Foxboro was all kinds of ugly: Sunday marked the eighth time in franchise history that the Jets allowed at least 550 yards a game and the first time since 1995’s season opener that they allowed at least 50 points in a game. The pass rush, which could’ve helped for the team’s identity for the future, has been non-existent over the past two games: they’ve earned one sack in that span, earned by Del’Shawn Phillips in New England when all was lost.

The struggles on defense have prevented the Jets from leaving the strong footprint in the trenches that Robert Saleh hoped would shape the team’s identity as they emerged from the post-London bye.

“I think we all stand in lockstep with Joe (Douglas), in terms of we’re going to be identified upfront,” Saleh said, per notes from the Jets. “Our D-line has been extremely effective. (It’s been) very, very good playing with a lot of energy, a lot of just overpowering teams, overpowering their opponent. I think (that identity is) starting to get established.”

Cincinnati, meanwhile, believes that they’ve succeeded in establishing their own defensive identity, one generated through physicality, resiliency, and football smarts.

“That’s one thing that we know we are: We’re a tough team. We give everybody our best shot,” first-year Bengal Chidobe Awuzie said of the unit, per Kaelen Jones of The Ringer. “I think the most important thing is proving  (we can compete with the top teams) to ourselves and…building an identity as a team, as a defense.”

“Everybody (has) their football smarts and intelligence,” safety Vonn Bell, in his second year with the team, added through notes with the team. “We’ve just been bonding, and it’s just been gelling together. We’re playing together. It’s a great feeling.”

Find a time and place to use weapons

A hidden subplot of Sunday’s game is the connection between Jets receiver Denzel Mims and Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson. The Jets had a chance to take Wilson in the late stages of the second round of 2020’s draft, but chose Mims with the 59th overall pick. Wilson, the Wyoming linebacker, went six picks later as the first pick of the third round. He has gone on to become one of Cincinnati’s defensive leaders while Mims has inexplicably struggled to gain snaps.

As owners of the top pick in each round of the 2020 draft, the Bengals took advantage: the selections of Burrow and Wilson sandwiched the choosing of Tee Higgins at the top of the second. Cincinnati’s staff, headed by the offensive minds of Taylor and coordinator Brian Callahan, has managed its assets well. Higgins has been a strong depth option alongside slot weapon Tyler Boyd. A strong rushing attack headed by Joe Mixon has been well complemented by spell option Samaje Perine.

Enough also can’t be said about the confidence bestowed in Chase, who has shot up the 2021 Rookie of the Year power rankings. It’s apparent there is a strong rapport between Chase and receivers coach/former All-American Troy Walters, one that has played to the Bengals’ benefit.

Walters, for example, never lost faith in Chase despite some early struggles and now believes that he has only scratched the surface of what he can accomplish at the professional level. The eight-year NFL veteran has noted that Chase has kept their chemistry and routines going despite reaching other-worldly levels of production.

“Nothing has changed. A lot of times when guys have success they stop doing what got them there. But he’s putting the time in all the days before Sunday. He’s got the routine down of how to be a pro,” Walters said of Chase, per team reporter Geoff Hobson. Referring to Chase’s 201-yard outing against the Ravens, it was apparent that Walters’ guidance helped him stay the course after he was frustrated by early Baltimore coverages.

“He wasn’t complaining or griping,” Walters said. “He understood his time was going to come. His average shows when he gets the ball in his hands, he can make some magic.”

Sunday’s game begins an 11-game stretch of uninterrupted football for the hapless Jets, one that will serve as de facto research and development for the future. If the Jets do anything over this final stretch, the coaching staff needs to find ways for young weapons like Mims and Elijah Moore to contribute on a more extensive basis. The team has, in fact, done a solid job of allowing rookie Michael Carter to establish his identity on the game’s rushing antics. It’s time

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Who Ya Got Wednesday: New York Jets vs. Cincinnati Bengals

mike white, michael carter, jets

Do the undermanned, Zach Wilson-free New York Jets stand a chance against the surprise AFC North leaders? ESM’s experts debate.

  • What: Cincinnati Bengals (5-2) @ New York Jets (1-5)
  • Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
  • When: Sunday at 1 p.m. ET
  • Watch: CBS
joe burrow, bengals

Geoff Magliocchetti

Those partaking in 2021 NFL regular season action have been waiting for the other shoe to drop on Cincinnati, the current owners of the AFC’s only bye.

But last week’s shocking win in Baltimore proved that the Bengals are here to stay. If not for two narrow losses to interconference competition, they could’ve stuck alongside Arizona in the ranks of the unbeaten. All this and more spells doom for the next team to run into them…and that just so happens to be the hapless New York Jets.

Such circumstances, as well as the state of the Bengals’ woebegone hosts, set up the perfect recipe for a trap game. But the Jets were barely prepared to give the mediocre Patriots a challenge, and that’s when they had the services of their franchise quarterback. The Bengals will have their share of non-believers, but this isn’t their week to talk.

New York football is in dire straits. Right now, the Jets’ goal is to bide their time until Wilson comes back, to get their train of development back on track. Last week’s six-plus touchdown loss to the Patriots was all too reminiscent of the defeats suffered in the Adam Gase era. This week has the potential to get ugly with the Bengals looking to decimate their doubters. There’s a chance for the defense to redeem themselves after a 551-yard, 54-point allowance…and with Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, that’s no guarantee…but not much else for sickly Gang Green.

Bengals 27, Jets 3

Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Brendan Carpenter

The Jets will not win this week against the Bengals. I know it, you know it, we all know it.

There are numerous injuries plaguing the team right now, highlighted by Zach Wilson who could be sidelined up to four weeks with a strained PCL. No one wishes an injury on a player, but the time spent sitting back, watching, and learning could help the young QB. Having Joe Flacco back in the mix to help him helps as well.

Mike White is now expected to make his first NFL start Sunday against Cincinnati. It’ll be interesting to see the gameplan with White under center, as he cannot do some of the things Wilson can. In all honesty, that may help offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur. It seems, at times that LaFleur is caught up in the possibility of Wilson making big plays, instead of giving him easy options. So, it may be easier for him this weekend. Of course, that’s not all on LaFleur, but it could potentially be a factor.

The defense will be another story. With injuries piling up, especially to the linebacker group, the middle of the field will not be fun to watch. Blake Cashman, Hamseh Nasirildeen, and Jamien Sherwood now all find themselves on IR. C.J. Mosley and Quincy Williams are both questionable for the game as well. Who will play linebacker? I genuinely don’t know.

Joe Burrow and rookie standout Ja’Marr Chase may set all new kinds of passing/receiving records Sunday. As a result, a score prediction seems unnecessary. But here’s one anyway:

Bengals 35, Jets 7

quincy wilson, jets

Dylan Price

The Jets host the Cincinnati Bengals this week in a game that assuredly will be spooky. Cincinnati is currently the top team in the AFC and have taken a big step forward in recent weeks. Joe Burrow looks exceptional and Ja’Marr Chase is playing at an unbelievably high level. Trey Hendrickson and the Bengals’ pass rush is efficient and effective. Simply put, this resurgent team is a well-rounded unit. How far the Bengals go from here, nobody can project, but Zac Taylor has undoubtedly turned this team around this year.

The Jets are trending downward and fast. Mike White makes his first career NFL start Sunday and the odds are stacked against him. He didn’t play well coming in on Sunday in relief and a good game from him would be surprising. New York’s secondary faces a receiving corps that can come at them from all angles, and if the pass rush doesn’t assert itself early and often, Burrow will slice them up all day.

I don’t foresee this being a good game for the Jets, so look for an early exit if you’re going to the game Sunday. You might have time to head home and enjoy the Halloween festivities rather than watch the horror movie on turf.

Bengals 42, Jets 10

New York Giants
Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

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Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets 2021 opponent report: Cincinnati Bengals

joe burrow, bengals

Star-crossed franchises do battle on Halloween, as the New York Jets welcome Joe Burrow and the Bengals to East Rutherford.

The Opponent: Cincinnati Bengals
The Date: Week 7 (Sunday, October 31), 1 p.m. ET, CBS (@ NYJ)
The Series: Jets lead 17-10 (last meeting: 2019, 22-6 CIN)

The New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals are living up to their respective reputations as two of the NFL’s scariest franchises in the modern standings. Entering the 2021 season, the teams are the owners of the longest playoff droughts in football. New York has a sizable margin at ten years, while the Bengals are at five seasons alongside the Cardinals and Broncos. Cincinnati is also nursing the longest active streaks between conference title game appearances (32 years) and playoff victories (30).

It’s thus only appropriate that these doomed squads go head-to-head on Halloween.

If anything, these franchises whose respective timelines have been dominated with tricks appear to have a pair of treats working with them under center. Cincinnati is set to welcome back Joe Burrow, the top pick of the virtual draft in 2020, while the Jets are set to counter with Zach Wilson, the second overall pick from the most recent selections.

The Skinny On the Bengals

The Bengals’ rebuild has entered the stage where they’re eradicating the remnants of the closest thing Queen City has had to professional football glory days since a rare Super Bowl appearance a majority of their fanbase has only seen on YouTube.

Andy Dalton, Andrew Whitworth, Rey Maulaga, and Domata Peko had already vanished. More Cincinnati jerseys became outdated this offseason, as the team bid farewell to Geno Atkins, A.J. Green, Gio Bernard, and Carlos Dunlap. Only tight C.J. Uzomah is left over from the Bengals’ last playoff trip, 2016’s meltdown at Paul Brown (Stadium).

The operation is being overseen by head coach Zac Taylor, who is entering the all-important third year at the helm. Cincinnati is a historically patient franchise: Taylor is only the 10th man to wear the headset for the franchise in their five-plus decades and his predecessor lasted 16 years in the spot without a single playoff victory.

Cincinnati’s fortunes were expected to be reversed by the arrival of Burrow. The standings left much to be desired…the Bengals won twice in Burrow’s ten starts…but reached heights unscaled by not only Cincinnati quarterbacks but legends of the entire league. Burrow became the first NFL freshman to throw for 300 yards in three consecutive games as well as the first to tally 400 passing yards, three passing scores, and a rushing six-pointer in a single contest.

This being the Bengals, however, the good times weren’t made to last. Burrow suffered a devastating injury during a November loss in Washington and was forced into an extensive rehab. Time will tell if Burrow returns to his dominant form that earned him the Heisman and a national title at LSU. But he found ways to turn his rehab process into a building block for his potentially game-changing career. The procedure, he believes, afforded him a chance to fix some of the flaws that perhaps hid beneath the glitz and glamour of his football career to date.

“With my knee, it felt the same. But I tweak my throwing motion every offseason and tweak my base. It was actually kind of beneficial for me, because I really started from the beginning and was able to refine some things that needed refining,” Burrow told Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer about his offseason. “I’d like to be more explosive. And I think I was really good in quick-game situations. On fourth down, we were really good. Empty, we were really good. But we need to be more explosive with play-action passes. All of our downfield passing needs to improve.”

In addition to losing Burrow, the Bengals also lost top rusher Joe Mixon to a foot injury. The next generation of Cincinnati weaponry has presented itself through Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins, who united for 1,749 yards and 10 scores last season.

What’s New In Cincinnati? 

In addition to the high-profile arrival of receiver Ja’Marr Chase (chosen fifth in April), the Bengals had to spend their offseason accounting for the loss of several defensive starters, including pressure artist and Jet-to-be Carl Lawson…who, alas, will not partake in the reunion with Cincinnati due to injury.

Cincinnati signed Trey Hendrickson after a breakthrough season in New Orleans in the hopes of replacing Lawson’s pressure production. A revamped secondary welcomes depth options Ricardo Allen, Eli Apple, Chidobe Awuzie, and Mike Hilton, while Trae Waynes is a de facto newcomer after a pectoral injury cost him the entire 2020 season.

The Bengals’ revamped top defense looked good in the “take-it-with-a-grain-of-salt” summer sessions, allowing no points in two contests. Hendrickson was enthused by what he learned from defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, who prides versatility in his front seven.

“It’s looking very unique of anything I’ve ever played before,” Hendrickson said of the defense to Ben Baby of ESPN after his first practices with the team in June. “I think it’s playing to both the defense and what I can bring to the table.”

How to Beat Them

-Make Them Pray for Penei

One of the most shocking twists of the draft was the Bengals’ curious decision to leave accomplished Oregon blocker Penei Sewell on the board in favor of Chase, one of Burrow’s favorite targets during the Tigers’ national championship run.

There’s no doubt that Chase has the potential to be an elite, big-play talent and that his victorious chemistry with Burrow could come up big as the team tries to drag back to mere football relevancy. But the Bengals learned the hard way that they need to find further protection for Burrow. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to pounce (pun intended) on the draft’s most powerful blocker, especially with one with experience on the blindside? Even when taking his season-ending injury into account, Burrow was still tied for ninth in sacks allowed.

The Bengals partly made up for passing on Sewell with the signing of Riley Reiff (who replaces the ineffective former Giant Bobby Hart) but the left side is guarded by tackle Jonah Williams and guard Quinton Spain. Williams is a first-round pick from 2019 that has had trouble staying healthy while Spain takes on larger duties after losing a competition against Cody Ford and Brian Winters in Buffalo.

The Jets won’t have the services of Lawson but it’s going to be crucial to attack Burrow’s blindside and make the Bengals regret their fateful decision. It’ll be a particularly big chance for those lining up on the outside, ready to attack the already vulnerable Bengal backfield.

carl lawson, new york jets

-Do It For Carl

One of the Lawson-centric metrics Jets fans are probably sick of…or can’t get enough of…seeing is the fact that Lawson was one of only 11 defenders to reach double-figures (10.5) in the “Sacks Created” advanced category. That number becomes downright jaw-dropping when a look at the defensive rankings reveals that the Bengals earned a mere 17 sacks last season…the worst output in the league.

There would be, perhaps, no better tribute to Lawson than to make the Bengals realize just how much they miss Lawson. That’ll come down to the offensive line working against Cincinnati’s adjusted pass rush. The Bengals also drafted Texas’ Joseph Ossai in the third round (29 tackles over the last two seasons), but he’s starting the season on injured reserve and could be out the whole year. Much like the Bengals will look to take advantage of the Jets’ fledgling, developing secondary, the Jets must take advantage of a Queen City pass rush searching for clarity and momentum.

If anyone knows just how deadly a Cincinnati pass rush attack can be. In their last get-together in November 2019…when the Jets fell to an 0-11 Bengals squad…Sam Darnold was sacked four times and knocked down nine more: six times alone by Dunlap and one further time by Lawson himself. The Bengals’ visit with a new quarterback to protect is a big chance to show how far they’ve come.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants: A Week 12 win is necessary with difficult upcoming schedule

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants are fresh off of a bye week, ready to face off against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 12. This is a critical game for the 3-7 Giants who sit one game back from first place in the NFC East. New York is still flying high off of their clutch victories against their rival Football Team and Eagles in Weeks 9 and 10, but need to continue their winning streak to stay alive in the playoff race.

The Cincinnati Bengals are 2-7-1 and lost last week to Washington. But for Cincinnati, it feelsN like they lost twice in one week. Not only did they fail to come out on top against Washington, but they also lost star rookie quarterback Joe Burrow to a season-ending injury. This means the Giants will face the Bengals and their backup quarterback Brandon Allen on Sunday.

This is the Giants’ most winnable game left on their schedule until Week 17. New York is in a prime position to pick up a momentum-building victory in Week 12 against a Bengals team starting a backup quarterback and possessing one of the worst defenses in the NFL.

This is a must-win game for the Giants. Not just because they are playing against an inferior opponent (that does not usually happen, especially when you are 3-7). But this is also a must-win game because there are not many winnable games left on the Giants’ schedule.

Who do the Giants have left?

After the Giants’ Week 12 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals, they will enter a four-week period where they play some of the best teams in the NFL. The Giants will travel to Seattle in Week 13 to play the Super Bowl-contending Seahawks. Then, New York will host the Arizona Cardinals, another certain playoff team that could be a darkhorse Super Bowl candidate.

After facing off with those two NFC West teams, the Giants will face off against two more AFC North teams. In Week 15, the Giants will host the 7-3, red hot Cleveland Browns. Cleveland has looked like a legitimate playoff contender the last couple of weeks and is heating up for a playoff run. Then, in Week 16, the Giants are going to be on the road again as they play the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens are a team that has struggled at times this season, but they are still 6-4 and playoff contenders. Entering the season, Baltimore was a Super Bowl contender.

That is four weeks of playoff teams for the Giants after this Bengals matchup. Getting one last win before facing these four superior squads is crucial for the Giants. Furthermore, beating a bruised and battered Bengals team is necessary for the 3-7 Giants. This will be their last favorable matchup until they play the imploding Cowboys in Week 17. Now is the time to really prove that the Giants are better than their record indicates.

New York Giants: Bengals safety Jessie Bates could be a problem for Giants’ offense in Week 12

The New York Giants are once again entering a “must-win” scenario in Week 12. After seeing their divisional landscape change drastically over the last two weeks, the Giants find themselves in the middle of a four-way race to win the NFC East. This could be the year that the Giants make their first playoff appearance since 2016, but they are going to have to pick up some clutch wins before the season’s end if they want to make that pipe dream a reality.

That road to the playoffs starts this week in Cincinnati. The Giants will take on the Joe Burrow-less Bengals after resting in their Week 11 bye. The Bengals lost Burrow in a loss to the Washington Football Team. Washington is now on a two-game win streak after beating Cincinnati last week and Dallas this week on Thanksgiving. Washington looks red hot, but, luckily, the Giants went 2-0 against the Football Team this season and have a tiebreaker over them in the playoff race because of that.

So after losing to Washington and watching their first-overall draft selection go down with a season-ending injury, the Bengals find themselves at rock bottom. Their offense looked pitiful without Burrow in the lineup last week. The Giants need to win this game to improve their record to 4-7, tie for first place in the division, and stay in the playoff race.

The Bengals’ offense might not leave the Giants with too much to worry about. Joe Burrow and Joe Mixon are out and possibly even Giovanni Bernard. But the Bengals’ defense, on the other hand, could cause some problems for the Giants’ offense. One player, in particular, stands out on Cincinnati’s defense: Jessie Bates III. Bates is having a career year and looks like one of the best safeties in the NFL. Bates could slow down a Giants offense that has begun to pick up the pace in recent weeks.

Jessie Bates III Stats and Highlights

Cincinnati Bengals third-year safety Jessie Bates has been a problem for opposing offenses in 2020. Bates is currently the highest-graded safety in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus as he is having a breakout career year.

Through ten games this season, Bates has been dominant on the backend for Cincy. Jessie has recorded 68 combined tackles, including 2 tackles for loss. But Bates’s run support is not what makes him so special. Jessie Bates is an ace in coverage and has shut down opposing passing attacks on a weekly basis.

Jessie Bates III already has three interceptions on the year and a career-high 13 passes defended. Bates has allowed only 12 completions on 26 targets in his coverage this season (46.2% completion percentage). He has allowed the opposition to gain only 115 yards and 2 touchdowns in his coverage this year for a quarterback rating of only 45.0.

Jessie Bates is a rangy safety that shuts down deep passing attacks:

The New York Giants might need to go with a more conservative passing game plan on Sunday as they look to avoid putting the ball in a situation where Jessie Bates III can make a play.

New York Giants: Giants are road favorites against the Bengals

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants have found themselves in a rare spot on this Monday morning – -they are road favorites against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Giants are five-point road favorites. This will be the first time since last season the Giants will be favorites heading into an away game. The team last season was the Washington Football Team in week 16, and they were one-point favorites.

Why are the Giants the favorites?

The New York Giants have emerged as favorites due to several reasons. Every Giants loss except for one has been by 10-points or fewer, and coming off a rest-week, they should be in a great position to emerge victorious in week 12.

Big Blue is gaining a few players back that were currently on the COVID-19 list, punter Riley Dixon and long snapper Casey Kreiter. The Giants are also gaining their second-round draft pick in Xavier McKinney. Oshane Ximines is coming back from injury as well. The Giants are healthy and now gaining a few big pieces back to the defense that has played pretty well as of late.

Bad news for the Cincinnati Bengals this morning, their star rookie quarterback Joe Burrow has torn his ACL and will be out for the rest of the season. If that is not enough, the Bengals will also not have their star running back, Joe Mixon that was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury.

When Burrow went down with an injury, the backup Ryan Finley came in and tried to win for Burrow. In the nicest way possible, Finley did not look impressive at all. Washington dominated Finley when he stepped in at quarterback.

For all you gamblers!

According to BetMGM, the Giants are early favorites. The Giants are five-point favorites against the Bengals. From what it seems like, the spread is only going to go up. The over/under opened at 42.5 points. From what I have heard, everyone is going to hammer the under. The money line is as follows, the Giants -233 and the Bengals +190.

From what it seems like the Giants are going to win by more than five points. If I were a bettor going to bet on this game, which I am, I would hammer the under and take the Giants as five-point favorites early before the spread keeps going up and up.

New York Giants: Root AFC North in Week 11, beat AFC North in Week 12

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants have fought hard and entered their name bac in the playoff race. With a statement victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 10, the Giants are just inches behind their rivals for the top spot in the NFC East. The Giants sit at 3-7, having beaten the Washington Football Team twice and the Philadelphia Eagles once. The Eagles are 3-5-1, playing one less game than the Giants and obtaining one win outside of the NFC East.

New York is trending upward; the Giants are 3-2 in their last five games. Philadelphia is trending downward; the Eagles are 2-3 in their last five games. This is setting up to be a close race to the finish line as both teams fight to win their lowly division.

Go Browns!

The New York Giants are on a bye this week. Philadelphia, however, has already had their bye week, and is stepping into a tough Week 11 contest on Sunday afternoon. Speaking of hot and cold teams, Philadelphia is travelling to Cleveland, Ohio to take on the Browns. The Browns have been surprising this year, improving to a 6-3 record (winning 3 of their last 5) after a shaky start to the season. Cleveland is hot, fortunately for the Giants, and unfortunately for the Eagles.

Boo Bengals(?)!

The Giants will rest up this week and prepare to take on their own AFC North opponent in Week 12. Giants fans will be rooting for Cleveland to whoop up on Philadelphia this week, cheering for an AFC North team that they will face later on this season. But, at the same time, the Giants will be preparing to take on an AFC North, the Cincinnati Bengals, next week.

This week, though, Giants fans have reason to root for Cincinnati. The Bengals are playing the Washington Football Team who sit at 2-7. With a win over the Bengals, Washington would improve their record to tie the Giants at 3-7. So fans might want to root for the Bengals this week. But their love and admiration for Cincinnnati is sure to run out quickly as the Giants will face the same team next week that they are rooting for this week.

In Week 12, the Giants will have a big opportunity ahead of themselves. From here on out, New York needs to win their winnable games and also needs to pull out an upset against in one of their games that is not considered as winnable. The Giants have a tough schedule ahead of them. The two weakest teams they will face are the Bengals (2-6-1, currently) next week and the Cowboys to close out the season. Both of those are must-win games as the Giants race the Eagles (and potentially the Washington Football Team) for first place in their division. The AFC North could actually decide the fate of the NFC East in 2020.