The Jets suffered one of the worst losses in their history last week and now they face a red-hot opponent … without their starting quarterback or No. 1 wide receiver.
This one could get ugly as the Jets (1-5) try to slow down the Bengals (5-2), who just hung 41 points on the Ravens. The Patriots beat the Jets, 54-13, last week, the fourth-most points the franchise has ever allowed. Can the Jets bounce back and make this a game?
“These guys are resilient,” head coach Robert Saleh said. “They know that every time they step between the white lines they have to go. It’s the NFL. At the same time, the best-coached teams are player-coached teams. The teams that are the best-coached are the ones that coach themselves when the locker room takes over.
“It takes time to build that continuity, that bond. Obviously, winning seals the bond a little bit faster. Those are things we’re trying to get done.”
The Jets had better speed up the process so they at least look competent. But they must do so without rookie quarterback Zach Wilson, who is sidelined at least two weeks with a knee injury, and No. 1 wide receiver Corey Davis, who injured his hip Thursday in practice.
The Bengals come to MetLife Stadium looking for their first three-game winning streak since 2015. Things have clicked for Cincinnati, with second-year quarterback Joe Burrow and star rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase leading the way.
It is not hard to diagnose what has gone wrong for the Jets
— They have failed to score a point in the first quarter, and have been outscored 44-0 in the opening period.
— They have failed to make an interception in their first six games, the only team in the league that has failed to get one.
— They are minus-8 in turnover margin — with 11 giveaways, the most in the NFL.
— They gave up 16 explosive plays to the Patriots last week, letting New England move the ball easily. The Bengals are second in the NFL in explosive plays, according to Saleh. On the flip side, the Jets have 12 plays all season of 25 yards or more.
“In our world, every time you give up an explosive in a drive, you’re giving up points,” Saleh said. “If you get an explosive in a drive, you’re getting points. So, they’re a big part of this football game, and we’re actually playing a team that, I think they’re second in the NFL in explosives created and fifth in explosives allowed. So, the whole formula of everything that they’ve been doing is pretty cool. But yeah, we’ve got to be a lot better in those categories.”