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The Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets are really polar opposites of one another. Cincinnati just keeps finding ways to lose games, while the Jets just keep finding ways to win them. Though these two squads have exactly opposite records, there is no telling what could happen when the two meet in the Meadowlands in the first Thanksgiving Day home game ever played in the state of New Jersey.
Matchup: Cincinnati Bengals @ New York Jets
Date: Thursday, November 25th, 8:20 ET
Location: New Meadowlands Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Game Line: New York -9
Bengals Notes: Before last week's collapse against the Buffalo Bills, we really thought that the Bengals were going to keep control of their emotions this year and continue to compete in games. However, 35 second half points scored by one of the more embarrassing offenses in the NFL, and we beg to differ. One man that clearly isn't giving up is WR Terrell Owens. The future Hall of Famer has had a heck of a season off the streets for the Bengals, as he has caught 62 passes for 897 yards and eight TDs on the campaign. QB Carson Palmer has been up and down the whole year, and his numbers sort of reflect that. The good news is that he has completed 240 passes for 2,625 yards. Eighteen scores is excellent as well. The problem comes with a shaky 60.9 completion percentage and 13 INTs. Getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks is a hassle for the Bengals, which is shocking considering how good they were at it last year. No one on the team has more than two sacks, and they rank dead last in the conference in total sacks for the season. The numbers for this team are awfully mediocre, but they don't really indicate that they are a 2-8 team. Cincinnati is No. 14 in the NFL in total offense at 346.2 yards per game and No. 18 in total defense at 341.3 yards per game. The problem is that opponents are consistently putting points on the board. Only two have been held below 22 points for the entire year, and three teams have gotten to at least 38.
Jets Notes: New York has to feel good about the way that it has played this year, as it has eight wins, a lot of which have come against some solid clubs, especially in the AFC. If you take out those two losses at home, New York has scored at least 23 points in all of its games this year. As a result, the offense is averaging 364.6 yards per game and 23.8 points per game. QB Mark Sanchez really isn't completing a high enough percentage of his passes at just 55.1 percent, but his 2,293 yards and 15/7 TD/INT ratio are both good enough to suggest that he could be a Pro Bowler in the AFC. The ground game is always good for the Jets, but they have had some pressure taken off of them this year with the emergence of Sanchez as a great passer. RB LaDainian Tomlinson has resurrected his career, as he has rumbled for 684 yards and five scores. Though RB Shonn Greene has only found pay dirt once, his 505 yards have been critical for the success that the team has had. Surprisingly, this isn't a team that intercepts a ton of passes. DB Darrelle Revis hasn't had an INT this season, and DB Antonio Cromartie only has two picks. Ranking No. 7 in total defense at 310.3 yards per game and No. 5 in scoring at 17.7 points per game almost seems to be a downer for a team that was just so dominating at times on that side of the ball over the course of last season.
The Final Word: Had this game been played last week, we'd be all over Cincinnati in a heartbeat, as we know that the Jets haven't always found ways to blow out teams, picking up its last four victories by a total of 16 points. However, the Bengals looked absolutely lost in the second half at home against the Bills, and after watching New York pound them into submission last year both in Week 17 and in the first round of the playoffs, we have no doubts that it is going to be another mess at the Meadowlands for the visitors.
Free Pro Football Picks: New York -9
Prediction: New York 30 – Cincinnati 13