I'll get to the intangibles later in the week hopefully (what? huh? what? momentum!) but let's stay grounded in the tangibles for now. For that, ESPN Insider runs a piece by Vince Verhei of Football Outsiders on the Jets-Bengals game this Saturday that sums it up nicely. Don't have Insider? Don't worry, I'll post the whole thing after the jump.
For now, just a quick summary using equations:
- Bengals run a lot but not well + Jets excellent run defense = little success on ground for Bengals
- No team relies more on a single receiver than Bengals + Revis for Jets = little to no success in air for Bengals
- Bengals are best in league at preventing long runs + Jets run a lot = lots of potential 3rd and longs for Jets
- 3rd & longs for Jets + Sanchez = lots of potential turnovers
Make sense? Thus, things that will determine who wins that would be somewhat unexpected would be:
- Chad somehow makes Revis look foolish or other receivers really step up (along with Carson)
- Bengals somehow find tremendous success running
- Mark Sanchez plays well
- Jets have similar success running the ball to last week
The performance of these teams would not predict any of those things. HOWEVER, both the Jets and the Bengals are among the most volatile (least consistent) teams this year (Bengals rank 28th, Jets 26th). So expect something unexpected to determine the game.
Okay, I have nothing else interesting to add analytically and none of this was really my own thinking anyway. Read all of Vince's piece below. Seriously.