This Jets season has been a rollercoaster ride. And it’s only Week 3.
Now they return home following the Miracle in Cleveland to face a desperate Bengals team on Sunday at MetLife Stadium (1 p.m, CBS). The reigning AFC champions are 0-2 and battling a wicked Super Bowl hangover so far. Can Joe Flacco find the magic again in what may be his final start before Zach Wilson returns from injury? The Jets are six-point home underdogs (via Sports Betting Dime). Here are the ESNY staff picks
Matt Musico, editor (3-1 against the spread, 2-2 straight-up): If there’s ever a time for the Jets to have momentum, now is that time after what they just accomplished in Cleveland. They’re going to need it with an annoyed 0-2 Bengals squad. The Super Bowl hangover is a real thing, but it’s hard for me to see Cincy’s rough start extend even further with another loss. Bengals 27, Jets 17.
Josh Benjamin, staff writer (2-2, 2-2): This will be a receipt Robert Saleh can throw out because there’s just no way the Bengals’ Super Bowl hangover is this bad. Joe Burrow is still a better quarterback than Joe Flacco despite having a Swiss cheese O-line. That said, the Jets’ defense has looked good enough so far that this game has some low-scoring potential. Unfortunately for New York, Cincinnati will score more. Bengals 24, Jets 10.
Ryan Honey, staff writer (2-2, 2-2): Flacco played a great game against the Browns en route to the Jets’ first win of the year. I won’t dispute that. But it’s tough to believe Flacco, at age 37, is capable of pulling off that great of a performance in two straight games. Especially against a Bengals defense that was just in the Super Bowl last February. And this Bengals team is due for a win. Cincinnati still sports a very talented roster that includes one of the league’s top quarterback-receiver tandems. The Bengals were just on a little Super Bowl hangover the first two weeks. Flacco vs. the reigning AFC Champions? Sorry, but I need to go with the latter. Bengals 24, Jets 13.
Danny Small, staff writer (2-2, 2-2): We have seen surprise wins in recent years, but the Jets have had a hard time handling success. A big win is usually followed by a disappointing loss. But this team feels different. The Bengals might be desperate, but they are 0-2 for a reason. This could be the week the Jets finally break through with the pass rush. If that happens and Flacco continues to play well, the Jets could be looking at a 2-1 record. Jets 27, Bengals 23.
James Kratch, managing editor (1-3, 1-3): The conventional wisdom says you can rally from 0-2 — you can even win the Super Bowl! — but 0-3 is tantamount to your season ending. So we should get a desperate Bengals team in the Meadowlands this week. That said, 0-3 may not be the devastating result it once was with a 17-game schedule. So don’t be shocked if Cincinnati does not have the sense of urgency we all assume it will. One thing I keep coming back to: The Bengals came out of nowhere last year. Maybe they slink right back just as quickly. Jets 24, Bengals 23.
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