The Jets are riding high after a miraculous comeback win against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, when they captured their first victory of the season.
That game saw the team down by two scores with less than two minutes to go in the matchup — but a Corey Davis 66-yard touchdown, followed by a successful onside kick, and a game winning drive by veteran Joe Flacco put the Jets up by one point as the clock struck double-zeros.
Now, they’ll look to keep up that momentum heading back to MetLife Stadium against the reigning AFC champions.
Here are three keys to look out for if head coach Robert Saleh’s team wants to continue their recent success:
Flacco, Flacco, and more Flacco
The veteran signal caller will start his third-straight game, as starter Zach Wilson continues to rehab from a torn meniscus and bone bruise, which he suffered in preseason. Wilson will miss this week, with his earliest possible return coming in Week 4 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
While he has begun practicing again, Flacco is the unquestioned starter for Week 3, and he proved his worth last Sunday against the Browns.
Flacco completed 26 passes on 44 attempts, and found his receivers in the end zone four times throughout the game — including rookie Garrett Wilson, who caught two scores, including the game-winner with under a minute remaining.
The veteran, at 37-years-old, has provided a steady presence through Wilson’s absence, and he will need to perform well again if they want any chance to hang with the AFC champs.
Jets’ decimated offensive line
New York’s offensive line has been trouble for the team all year, as they lost their starting left tackle Mekhi Becton during preseason, and Duane Brown found himself on the Injured Reserve list just prior to their Week 1 game, when he was slated to be Becton’s replacement.
They held their own, though, against a tough Browns defensive line, which is led by Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney — one of the most feared duos in the league.
Now, they will go up against the Bengals’ Sam Hubbard, DJ Reader and Trey Hendrickson.
That is enough to make any o-line sweat, but for the Jets, it presents a new challenge — they’ll need to get their running game going, and keep Flacco upright if they stand a chance against Joe Burrow’s potent offensive game.
Any team facing off against the Bengals have one major goal in mind: Stop Joe Burrow.
Burrow was the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and led the team to the Super Bowl last season (but ultimately lost to the Los Angeles Rams).
Through two games, Burrow has recorded a 64% completion rate, and 537 yards with 3 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.
Like the Jets, the Bengals struggle in the offensive line department — as Burrow has already been sacked a league-high 13 times so far, through two games.
The Jets defensive line has been the biggest bright spot thus far in the season, and they’re counting on Carl Lawson, Quinnen Williams and C.J. Mosley to feast on the dilapidated Bengals pass protectors.
Burrow is elusive, but the Jets have all the tools necessary to bring him down to the turf — and prevent the big plays he’s become famous for.
Hitting him before he releases may make the difference on Sunday.