3 Matchups to Watch

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3 Matchups to Watch: Jets-Bengals

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Le’Veon Bell vs. Bengals Rush D
On paper, this is a matchup that favors the Jets. The Green & White has one of the most talented running backs in the NFL and the Bengals allow a league-worst 166.4 rushing yards per game. The Bengals, however, have a talented front, led by seven-time Pro Bowl DT Geno Atkins.

“We need to handle Geno Atkins,” Jets Coach Adam Gase said. “That’s where it all starts and stops. When he gets going, it’s a scary thing. He destroys the run game, he can cause problems in pass protection. He creates turnovers”

Andy Dalton/Tyler Boyd/A.J. Green vs. Jets Secondary
Quarterback Andy Dalton is back under center for the Bengals after sitting three games behind rookie Ryan Finley. Dalton has completed 60.4% of his passes and thrown 9 touchdown passes and 8 interceptions this season and could give the winless Bengals (0-11) a spark.

“Andy is a tough competitor,” Gase said. “He’s been doing this for a little bit and he’s had plenty of success. It’s going to be about his surrounding cast and how much of the offense he’s going to be able to dictate himself. If you give Andy some things at the line of scrimmage, he’ll be able to execute. He can get you in and out of good plays, he’s a very smart player and he can throw it all over the field. He’s a tough guy to go against and I’ve had plenty of battles with him where if he brings his A-game, he’s a tough guy to beat.”

Dalton’s favorite receiver, A.J. Green, did not practice on Wednesday and it’s unclear if he’ll make his season debut, but the Jets are preparing as if Green is going to play.

“I’m looking at him already, seeing his press releases, what he does in zone, how he sits his routes down,” said CB Arthur Maulet, who’s started the last three games for the Jets. “I’m studying him like he’s going to play. I don’t want any surprises.”

In Green’s place, Tyler Boyd has been Cincinnati’s No. 1 receiver this year with 63 catches for 699 yards and 2 TDs. Last week, Boyd had 5 receptions for 101 yards and a score in a 16-10 loss to the Steelers.

“He can stretch the field a little bit,” Maulet said. “I feel like we’ll do a good job against him, though.”

See Best Images from Wednesday's Practice at 1 Jets Drive

Jets Rush D vs. Joe Mixon
The Jets have the NFL’s best (78.1YPG) rush defense and even though Bengals RB Joe Mixon is 16th in the league with 599 rushing yards, he’s still a threat. Mixon, a third-year player, was the AFC’s leading rusher last season with 1,168 yards and has picked up steam lately. In his last three games, he’s rushed for 279 yards on 63 carries for an 4.4 per carry average.

“He’s been a legit guy since he’s busted in the league,” Gase said. “You better make sure you get him on the ground. He’s a tough runner and we need to do a good job of containing him.”

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