Know Your Opponent: Week 1 vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Matthew Stalker breaks down the New York Jets week 1 opponent, the Cincinnati Bengals

The New York Jets kick off the 2016 regular season at MetLife Stadium against the Cincinnati Bengals.  Let’s get to know the Jets opponent for Week 1…

Offense
QB – Andy Dalton
RB – Jeremy Hill
WR – A.J. Green
WR – Brandon LaFell
WR – Tyler Boyd
TE – Tyler Eifert (out)
LT – Andrew Whitworth
LG – Clint Boling
C – Russell Bodine
RG – Kevin Zeitler
RT – Cedric Ogbuehi

Analysis
Despite losing offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, wide receivers Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and starting right tackle Andrew Smith, the Bengals are still expected to be a formidable offense. The team is well off at quarterback with Andy Dalton, at running back with Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard, and have one of the top wideouts in the league in A.J. Green. Cincinnati added former Patriots receiver Brandon LaFell in free agency and drafted Tyler Boyd, who has already received compliments from coach Bowles, in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

While the Bengals will be without tight end Tyler Eifert to start the season, they should be alright with Tyler Kroft who started six games replacing Eifert in 2015 (11 catches, 129 yards, TD). For the role of offensive coordinator, the team went for an in-house promotion, moving 12-year quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese into the job. There shouldn’t be much of a learning curve heading into the season.

Defense
LDE – Carlos Dunlap
NT – Domata Peko
DT – Geno Atkins
RDE – Michael Johnson
SLB – Karlos Dansby
MLB – Rey Maualuga
WLB – Vincent Rey
LCB – Dre Kirkpatrick
SS – Shawn Williams
FS – George Iloka
RCB – Adam Jones

Analysis
The Bengals are right there among the top defenses in the NFL.  They are downright scary up front against the run and in the pass rush, and proved as much ranking 11th in total defense and 7th in rush defense in 2015. Cincinnati boasts one of the top pass-rushing tandems in Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap, who as part of a pretty lethal front seven, can cause havoc on opposing offenses, leading to poor decision making and “lame duck” passes due to pressure on the quarterback.  It allowed the Bengals to grab a third-most 21 INTs in 2015.  Reggie Nelson, who had a league-leading 8 INTs last season, has departed and will be replaced by George Iloka.

Iloka Iooks to get back on track and be a leader on defense after an injury plagued 2015. Their pass defense, with the aforementioned Iloka and Shawn Williams at safety, and corners Adam Jones, Darqueze Dennard, and Dre Kirkpatrick, should remain a solid unit in 2016.

Special Teams
P – Kevin Huber
K – Mike Nugent
LS – Clark Harris
KR – Adam Jones
PR – Adam Jones

Analysis
Jets fans know Bengals kicker Mike Nugent pretty well, having played his first four seasons with New York. He’s a pretty average kicker. In 2015, he was 23 for 28, a less than desirable 82.1% success rate on field goal attempts, and missed just one PAT in 49 attempts.  incinnati’s punter, Kevin Huber, ranked 15th among punters in 2015 with an average of 45.8 yards, had one blocked, 22 punts inside the 20, 15 fair catches and just six touchbacks. Last season as a return man, Jones averaged 11.2 yards per return with a long on 35 yards on punts, 23.5 yards per return with a long of 49 yards on kickoffs, but did not have a touchdown. In fact, the Bengals as a whole did not have one punt or kick return touchdown in 2015.

Prediction
Jets 24, Bengals 16
Record: 0-0

Bengals.com