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Way-too-early schedule predictions: Bengals at Jets

Can’t give this one away again.

Cincinnati Bengals v New York Jets Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Looking back at the 2021 NFL season, the New York Jets’ Week 8 win over the Cincinnati Bengals was easily one of the biggest upsets of the year.

The crazy thing is the Bengals still ended up winning the AFC and were one score away from winning the Super Bowl, while the Jets endured a 4-13 campaign, including a 54-13 loss to the New England Patriots prior to beating Cincinnati.

Thankfully, the Bengals had a much lighter schedule in 2021 and were able to overcome what could be a crippling loss if it happens again in 2022. When you have the third-toughest strength of schedule, you can’t afford to give away games like this.

Yes, the Jets have improved, but so too have the Bengals, who are already 10+ points better than New York if they just bring their B+ game. You have to think we’ll see a better effort this time around after last season’s shocker in the same venue.

A big reason for the upset was the Bengals’ inability to stop backup quarterback Mike White from picking apart the defense, completing 82.2% of his passes with 405 yards and three scores vs. two picks (both came off deflected passes).

Assuming Zach Wilson is healthy and starting this time around, the Bengals will have to play much better to contain what should be an improved passing game with top-10 pick Garrett Wilson at wide receiver, while the secondary will get a big boost from former Cincinnati Bearcats cornerback and top-five pick Sauce Gardner.

And we can’t forget about C.J. Uzomah, who will be gunning for a big game against his former team of seven seasons.

All told, I think the Bengals come into this one ready to make a statement after last season and win going away.

ESPN FPI: Bengals have 68.6% chance to win.

My prediction: Bengals 37, Jets 20

How do you see this Week 3 matchup playing out? Let us know below!

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