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Predict the outcome of Bengals vs. Jets

Cincinnati faces a pair of old friends in Joe Flacco and Carl Lawson

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
Carl Lawson
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh is definitely not about to give the Cincinnati Bengals any bulletin-board material heading into Sunday’s contest.

In fact, just the opposite.

‘’They’ve been on the wrong side of luck,’’ Saleh said in an interview with CBS Sports recently. ‘’This team, they’re still the AFC champs in my mind. They still look like the AFC champs, they’re still playing at a very high level, and we fully expect them to be exactly what we’re seeing on tape, which is a really good football team.’’

The Jets are understandably riding pretty high after storming back from a 13-point deficit with 1:55 left to defeat Cleveland, 31-30, last week. New York sports a 1-1 record, while Cincinnati stands at 0-2 after a pair of three-point losses.

First-round selection and former Ohio State standout Garrett Wilson has gotten off to a strong start for the Jets. Wilson had eight catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns last week, including hauling in the 15-yard game-winner with 22 seconds left.

While the Bengals’ offensive line has been a disappointment so far this year (having surrendered 13 sacks through two games), the Jets’ defensive front has not exactly been burning the house down. But while New York has only three sacks so far, it also has nine quarterback hits and 24 quarterback pressures.

‘’They’re really good inside,’’ Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow said. ‘’Quinnen Williams is a force in there. I played against him in college, and I played against him last year. He can make it tough on us.’’

So can linebacker/defensive end Carl Lawson, who began his career as Cincinnati’s fourth-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft and was among the league leaders in pressures when he went to the Jets as a free agent in 2021. Lawson sat out the entire 2021 season with a ruptured Achilles’ tendon.

In addition, the Bengals are facing a back-up quarterback for the second week in a row in former Baltimore signal-caller Joe Flacco, who is filling in for the injured Zach Wilson. The last time Cincinnati faced a Jets’ back-up was on October 31, 2021, when Mike White completed 37/45 passes for 405 yards and three touchdowns in his first NFL start, which ended in a 34-31 win. His 37 completions set an NFL record for the most completions in a player’s first NFL start.

The Bengals also faced a back-up quarterback last week in Dallas and, as we all know, that did not go too well, either.

So, Bengals fans, who do you think is going to win this one? Will the Bengals drop to 0-3 on the season, or will New York be saddled with second second loss of the season?