Pro Spotlight: Jets Take Center Stage In Wild Card Match
There was bitter cold last Sunday at the Meadow - lands. But all that was forgotten, for at least 3 hours, as the Jets clinched their wild card playoff berth with a 37-0 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
But the raucous atmosphere that cheered the Jets on to victory at what was the final game at Giants Stadium all disappears on Saturday.
And the Jets know it. When they head to Cincin - nati for a rematch on Saturday (4:30 p.m., NBC) the stakes will certainly be raised. The Bengals team that will lineup will try to erase all remnants of a bitter defeat in the NFL season finale.
“ We know the challenge is there and you’re doing it on the road. It will be a big challenge. Every week is going to be a challenge,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said.
“From here on out, you play against great football teams. To reach our goal, we are going to have to knock off a bunch of good ones.”
The Jets are on a high and with a certain confidence that makes them believe they have a good chance of wining on Saturday. Even if the Bengals res ted a few starters last Sunday, the Jets took care of business and did what they needed to win.
It’s expected the Bengals will feature their defense on stopping Brad Smith from beating them again from the wildcat position. Smith, a former QB at Missouri, used his legs at QB to score a 32-yard touchdown, and rush for a 57-yard effort which led to the Jets first score of the game.
In most of their wins, their strong running game featuring Thomas Jones and the emergence of rookie Shonn Greene has been a effective tool. They rush - ed for 257 yards against a porous Bengals defense.
Greene has emerged in the absence of the injured Leon Washington in the last half of the season. He was fumble prone early in the season, but has held onto the football the last few weeks and wants to contribute in any way he can.
“(It was) unfortunate for Leon (Washington), but an opportunity for me,” Greene said. “I think I’ve hand - led it pretty well. (I am) just trying to help the team out.”
Their number one rated defense pounded QB Car - son Palmer early, and CB Darrelle Revis won the celebrated matchup against WR Chad Ochocinco by holding the talkative receiver to no catches.
Ochocinco, who said he suffered a leg injury minutes prior to the start of the game, says he will be ready to go. Despite the talk on Twitter prior to last week’s game between the two, Revis holds a lot of re - spect for Ochochinco. The Jets possible choice for NFL defensive MVP knows that his performance will be one of the key matchups the Jets must win.
“’I’m going to do the same preparation. I’ve still got to look at him (Chad Ochocinco). I think he’s one of the best route running receivers in this League,” Revis said. “He’s always stemming and doing things to break away from a defender’s leverage. I’ve just got to stay on my preparation and keep on watching the guy.”
But while the Jets are happy to be in the playoffs, they believe they can be here for the long run. Bart Scott thinks it can happen with a win on Saturday.
“It’s one thing to do it against, no disrespect, to Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Oakland, but to go out and do it against the upper-echelon teams sends a statement,” Scott said. “I think we started off on a national stage sending a message, but we won’t get that type of credit until we do it in the playoffs when everything is on the line.