First a few updates:
1. Rex Ryan did what he does best today (except coach defense) and grabbed headlines by saying he believes the Jets should be favorites in the playoffs because of their defense and running game. This story will likely get blown out of proportion, basically Ryan was informed the Jets had the lowest odds (now 50 to 1) of any playoff team and said that he believes in his team and he would personally pick them as favorites…the guy has confidence in his team. Yes, it is crazy to think the Jets should be the favorites in these playoffs but if their head coach doesn’t believe they are going to win it all, why even bother…however that doesn’t mean he needed to say it to the press.2. You want see Ryan’s impact on the Jets defense? Read this: (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/
3. 11 out of 12? That is the highest I have seen them yet. (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers
Quarterback: Carson Palmer (3094 yards, 21 TDs, 13 INTs, 83.6 QB Rating) vs. Mark Sanchez (2444 yards, 12 TDs, 20 INTs, 63.0 QB Rating) – Palmer isn’t the elite quarterback he used to be but is still a good player. This is really his first playoff game since he got hurt on the 1st play of his last playoff game. Sanchez has struggled with turnovers and consistency in his rookie year. Advantage: Jets….just kidding…Bengals.
Running Backs: Cedric Benson (1251 yards, 6 TDs, 4.2 YPC), Bernard Scott (321 yards), Brian Leonard (30 receptions) vs. Thomas Jones (1402 yards, 14 TDs, 4.2 YPC), Shonn Greene (540 yards, 2 TDs), Danny Woodhead (151 total yards) – I will take Thomas Jones over Cedric Benson any day of the week, Shonn Greene has been better than Scott this year despite not starting to play until the middle of the season. Leonard is a valuable third down back and a better player than Woodhead. Advantage: Jets.
Fullback: Tony Richardson (58 total yards) vs. Jeremi Johnson (49 total yards) – Johnson is a good player but Richardson is one of the best in the NFL. Advantage: Jets.Wide Receivers: Chad Ochocinco (1047 yards, 9 TDs), Laveranues Coles (514 yards, 5 TDs), Andre Caldwell (432 yards, 3 TDs), Quan Cosby (4 catches, 55 yards) vs. Braylon Edwards (541 yards, 4 TDs), Jerricho Cotchery (821 yards, 4 TDs), Brad Smith (270 total yards, 1 TD), David Clowney (191 yards, 1 TD) – Ochocinco is a better #1 receiver than Braylon but Cotchery is a substantially better #2 receiver than Coles. Caldwell is a better pure receiver than Brad Smith, but Smith is more of a weapon and big play threat. Clowney might not be active on Saturday. Advantage: Even.
Tight Ends: J.P. Foschi (260 yards, 2 TDs), Daniel Coats (150 yards) vs. Dustin Keller (522 yards, 2 TDs), Ben Hartsock (1 TD), Wayne Hunter, Robert Turner – Keller isn’t used enough by the Jets but is still a much more productive and dangerous player than anyone the Bengals could line up at tight end. Advantage: Jets.
Offensive Line: Andrew Whitworth, Nate Livings, Kyle Cook, Bobbie Williams, Dennis Roland vs. D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Alan Faneca, Nick Mangold, Brandon Moore, Damien Woody – The Jets front five have started the past 32 games together and are arguably the best unit in the game. They are anchored by All-Pro center Nick Mangold. Advantage: Jets.
Defensive Line: Robert Geathers (36 tackles, 3.5 sacks), Domata Peko (23 tackles), Tank Johnson (29 tackles, 2 sacks), Jonathan Fanene (36 tackles, 6 sacks), Michael Johnson (17 tackles, 3 sacks) vs. Shaun Ellis (53 tackles, 6.5 sacks), Sione Pouha (45 tackles), Marques Douglas (64 tackles, 1.5 sacks), Mike DeVito (28 tackles) – Two underrated units who lack a big name but still get the job done. I will give the advantage to the Bengals because they do a better job of rushing the passer. Advantage: Bengals
Linebackers: Rashad Jeanty (20 tackles), Dhani Jones (113 tackles, 3.5 sacks), Keith Rivers (72 tackles, 1 sack), Brandon Johnson (58 tackles, 1.5 sacks) vs. David Harris (127 tackles, 5.5 sacks), Calvin Pace (55 tackles, 8 sacks), Bart Scott (92 tackles, 1 sack), Bryan Thomas (53 tackles, 2 sacks) – Even if Rey Maualuga didn’t get hurt, I would still give the advantage to the Jets. David Harris should be have been in the pro-bowl and if Calvin Pace didn’t miss the first four games with a suspension he might have made it also. Advantage: Jets
Corners: Leon Hall (71 tackles, 6 INTs), Jonathan Joseph (69 tackles, 6 INTs), Morgan Trent (28 tackles), David Jones (11 tackles) vs. Darrelle Revis (54 tackles, 6 INTs), Lito Sheppard (31 tackles, 1 INT), Dwight Lowery (24 tackles, 3 INTs), Donald Strickland (26 tackles, 2 sacks) – The Jets have the best overall player and better depth but the Bengals have a better starting duo. Advantage: Even.
Safety: Chris Crocker (51 tackles, 2 INTs), Chinedum Ndukwe (89 tackles, 1 INT, 2 sacks), Tom Nelson (25 tackles, 1 INT) vs. Jim Leonhard (76 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 INT), Kerry Rhodes (63 tackles, 3 INTs), Eric Smith (48 tackles, 1 INT), James Ihedigbo (2 sacks) – Pretty even here, although Kerry Rhodes is probably the most talented guy in the group despite having a very disappointing season. Advantage: Even.
Special Teams: Shayne Graham (23/28 FG’s), Kevin Huber (43.2 yards per punt), Bernard Scott (1 KR TD), Quan Cosby (11.9 yards per punt return) vs. Jay Feely (30/36 FGs), Steve Weatherford (42 yards per punt), Brad Smith (1 KR TD), Jerricho Cotchery (10.3 yards per punt return) – The numbers are very comparable across the board, although the Jets have pulled four successful fake punts this season. Advantage: Jets.