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New York Jets vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Preseason Game #2 Preview

by Jay Sanin | Posted on Saturday, August 16th, 2014

Adam Hunger – USA Today Sports

After winning their first preseason game 13-10 over the Indianapolis Colts on August 7, the New York Jets return to action tonight against the Cincinnati Bengals. While preseason games are largely populated by reserve players looking to earn a spot on the team, taking on a second defending division champion in as many weeks will provide a decent test for Gang Green.

With no shortage of story lines surrounding the Jets, here are the top three things to look for heading into the squad’s second preseason game.

Geno vs. Vick: Round 2

In preseason game number one against the Colts, Geno Smith played relatively well against an admittedly soft Indianapolis pass defense. He completed four of six passes for 33 yards, adding in a ten yard run to boot. Michael Vick completed half of his six pass attempts for just 17 yards, adding in 19 yards on the ground on three carries.

With Geno seeing the first team reps, it isn’t a great leap to suggest that he won the battle over Vick in game number one. Now he is tasked with the challenge of improving his performance against the Bengals, against whom he delivered the worst performance of his professional career, throwing for just 159 yards and two interceptions in a 49-9 loss last October. Should Smith get first team reps again tonight, it would be a huge boost to his chances of locking up the starting quarterback job for him to play well.

Running Back Battles

While the Jets have invested in Chris Johnson for the next two years, the team needs the rest of its running backs to step up. In the game against Indianapolis, the only player outside of Michael Vick and Geno Smith to average greater than three yards per carry was Alex Green, who managed 29 yards on seven carries against an Indianapolis defense that finished 22nd against the run in Football Outsiders’ defensive rankings.

More often than not in today’s NFL, a stable of effective running backs is essential to a team’s success, with the defending champion Seattle Seahawks serving as a defiant exception to that rule. But with Chris Johnson’s effectiveness still in question, the Jets are going to need other backs to prove themselves as viable candidates to move the ball in order to ensure a multi-dimensional offense when the regular season begins.

Pass Defense Problems

The Jets have a number of defensive backs dealing with injuries at the moment, with Dee Milliner perhaps the most notable player on that list. Against a Bengals team that tore the Jets apart through the air in their regular season meeting last year, the Jets are in for a challenge tonight.

Nine days ago, Andrew Luck was able to complete four of five passes, with first string wideouts T.Y. Hilton and Hakeem Nicks combining for four catches and 53 yards against the Jets defense. While Gang Green won’t see a full four quarters of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, struggling to defend Cincinnati’s passing game yet again will only serve to amplify the questions many are asking about the team heading into what should be a make or break season for Rex Ryan and his roster.

While the final score isn’t relevant in the grand scheme of things, tonight’s preseason game against the Bengals should serve to answer a number of questions for the Jets heading into their third preseason game against the Giants on Friday. Whether the Jets can provide the answers their fans are looking for remains to be seen.

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Jay Sanin is a man. A man who writes about sports, and performs play-by-play duties for various Siena Saints athletic programs.
About the Author

Jay Sanin is a man. A man who writes about sports, and performs play-by-play duties for various Siena Saints athletic programs.

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