When the Bengals and Jets face off this Sunday, Matt Forte will play a large part in determining the winner.
After a standout career with the Bears, Forte signed with the Jets to become their featured running back after Chris Ivory was let go this offseason. Even at his ripe age of 30, Forte is still one of the NFL's best dual-threat backs and can wreck this game for Cincinnati. Ahead of the regular season opener, let’s better get to know Forte, ahead of his first regular-season game with the Jets.
Name: Matt Forte
Number/Position: #22 / Running Back
Born: December 10, 1985 (age 30)
Birthplace: Lake Charles, LA
Height: 6′ 2″
Weight: 218 lbs
Drafted: 2008 NFL Draft, 2nd round, 44th overall by Chicago
*Dual-threat back who can do all of his damage through the air, on the ground or a balance of both. Forte leads the NFL in all-purpose yards (12,718) since he entered the league in 2008.
*Forte has totaled 8,602 rushing yards on 2,035 rushes and 45 touchdowns in his nine-year career thus far.
*Forte caught 102 passes two years ago -- an NFL record for a running back.
*Very elusive and patient while reading his blocks and finding a hole.
*Great burst and acceleration make him very dangerous in the open field.
*At 30 years old, Forte isn't the same player he used to be, and we saw him slow down with his production last year even when healthy.
*He missed three games due to an MCL sprain in 2015 and finished with a career-low 898 rushing yards and just 389 yards receiving.
*His speed is good, but not great, and should be slightly lower entering his 30-year-old season.
*He missed a good chunk of training camp and the preseason with hamstring issues.
Keys to Defending
*The Bengals must maintain their gaps and not over-pursue Forte, or he’ll make them pay with big outside runs.
*A speedy linebacker or even a safety needs to be covering him often in the passing game.
*Get low and wrap him up. Forte will bulldoze over high tackles.
Random Prediction: The Bengals win Sunday if they hold Forte to under 90 all-purpose yards.