NFL News - December 29th, 2009 - Written by John
The New York Jets can make one final stretch for the postseason Sunday night, and the NFL is allowing them to do it in front of a prime time audience. NBC has elected to exercise it's flex scheduling option, and will elevate New York's game against the Cincinnati Bengals from 1 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. to spotlight one of two games underscored with "win-and-you're-in".
The Jets are one of two teams (Baltimore being the other) who control their own destiny after beating the Indianapolis Colts in a game that is still being protested to this hour. The Colts, in the middle of an undefeated season, decided to yank their starters for safety concerns, giving New York a walk to it's eighth win of the year.
Some fans called foul because other teams with playoff aspirations had to play fully rostered teams last week. Those fans may be warm once again this week because the Bengals don't have a lot to gain this week, and may opt to bench their starters once again.
If that's the case, the Jets would receive what would amount the first intentional walk into the playoffs in recent memory.
Regardless, New York has come up when it needed to, recovering from a 15-10 deficit against the Colts with two late touchdowns and a 106-yard kickoff return by Brad Smith. It has won four of it's last five primarily with a dominant rushing attack that has averaged 156 yards over the last four games.
Thomas Jones leads the team with 1,324 yards and 12 touchdowns and is only 11 yards shy of a career season.
Cincinnati broke a two-game losing streak last week in a 17-10 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, and as the score indicates, it wasn't pretty. Cedric Benson ran for 133 yards, which is encouraging, but Carson Palmer's 139 pass yards were a bit troubling.
Since Week Nine, Palmer has alternated 200-yard passing games with sub-200 yard games, and has yet to top that total in consecutive weeks.
The game will feature one of the best coverage corners in the NFL in Darrelle Revis covering one of the top receivers in the league, Chad Ochocinco.
Ochocinco has 1,047 yards and nine scores, while Revis has six interceptions. He also has 19 deflections over the last six games.
Per ProFootballTalk, Ochocinco Tweeted Revis, saying: "I'm coming to the Big Apple to give NY what they've never seen, an escape inmate gone wild on Revis Island."
New York has covered well in Week 17 in NFL Sportsbooks, going 9-4 ATS in it's last 13.
Cincinnati is 7-1 ATS against teams with a winning record.