Jets aren't talking like longshots

KEN FIDLIN, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 7:32 PM ET

The New York Jets may have been the last team to qualify for the NFL’s Super Bowl tournament but they’re sure not expecting to be the first out.

The Jets went right down to the wire before blowing out the Cincinnati Bengals 37-0 in the final football game ever at Giants Stadium Sunday night to get the sixth and final AFC playoff spot.

Now they’re talking like Super Bowl contenders.

When told his team was a 40-1 longshot — longest on the board — to win the Super Bowl, Jets coach Rex Ryan was a bit surprised.

“I wasn’t aware of that,” he said, “but to me, I think we should be favorites.”

And not just for Saturday’s game in Cincinnati against the Bengals. No, Ryan is talking about the Super Bowl itself.

“I mean the whole tournament,” he said. “I think we have the best defence. I know we do. I know we have the best rushing attack. Those are two huge factors in our favor. I want this football team. If I had the choice to coach any team in this tournament, I would choose this one.”

On a roll

That’s fortunate, because the Jets are the only team available to him right now. And he’s right about one thing: they’ve arrived into the playoffs on a roll. New York has won five of its past six and the two elements of which he speaks — the running game and the defence — are the parts that have been most impressive.

In those past six games, the Jets have outrushed their opponents 1,081 yards to 501, which works out to almost 100 more rushing yards per game. In those games the Jets have outscored their opponents 135-47, allowing only four touchdowns in the process.

In last week’s game, against a disinterested Bengals team that had little to play for, the Jets limited Carson Palmer and Co., to just four completions for — get this — zero yards.

“Everybody’s saying we didn’t get Cincinnati’s best effort,“ Jets defensive end Marques Douglas said. “Well, they didn’t get ours, either. They have to line up the same guys we played against (last Sunday). Granted (running back Cedric) Benson didn’t play, but I don’t think Benson can score 37 points for them.

“There’s been a lot of chatter coming out of Cincinnati about what they didn’t give us. I want to know this: Are we going to see twins out there or something? Because they had their starters out there for 31/2 quarters.”

That may be true, but the Bengals defenders played basic schemes and did not make any adjustments. You can be absolutely certain the Cincinnati defence will put as many men as it takes at the line of scrimmage to stop the run and force the Jets to beat them with rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez’s arm against Cincinnati’s superb secondary.

Could get ugly

Four times this year, Sanchez has thrown three or more interceptions in a game and the Bengals know that if the Jets get behind early it could get ugly.

On the Bengals’ side, despite his talent and wealth of experience, Palmer has played only two downs of postseason football. That occurred in 2005 when, on the second play from scrimmage in a wild card game against the Steelers, he had his knee blown out after completing a 66-yard pass to the late Chris Henry.

It has taken him four years to get back to the playoffs.

“That has driven me,” said Palmer. “But what really drives you is watching the wild card round at home. Any NFL player sitting at home watching games is putting up a front. It’s tough to do.”

Now he has a chance to put some playoff numbers beside his name.

“It is how quarterbacks are remembered, created, judged.”

And, perhaps, demolished, if Rex Ryan has his way.


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