Sexy Rexy Deserves Some Love
In Rex Ryan’s first four years as head coach, he was known at least as much for his bodacious off the cuff comments and predictions, as he was for being an astute defensive-minded coach. Being in the Big Apple only meant some of these proclamations who going to be used against him if they proved untrue.
After last year’s 6-10 campaign, Ryan essentially had to barter to keep his job with the Jets and he decided to tone down his act.
This summer, Ryan said he liked his football team and did make the announcement, “…the defense was going to surprise people and be among the best”. Naturally with all the bravado nobody took him seriously, until now.
After seven weeks, New York is third in total defense (302.6 YPG), first in yards per carry allowed (3.1), second in rushing yards allowed (77.7) and tied for second in yards per play surrendered (4.8). In other words, Rex was right, this is a young active group and under his expert leadership has grown into an aggressive attacking menace and NFL football handicappers have taken notice.
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Cincinnati Moving Up the Ladder
By any measure, at 5-2, the Cincinnati Bengals are among the top teams in the AFC. This is quite an accomplishment when you consider three years ago they were 4-12 and residents of the Queen City had no interest in paying money to see the professional football team.
However with patience and diligence in the draft as well as not making radical changes, this could very well be the best Bengals bunch since 2005.
Common perceptions would have Cincinnati behind Kansas City, Denver and Indianapolis; especially with New England’s defensive injuries and offensive ineffectiveness.
After a slow start, Andy Dalton is expertly moving the ball around to a fine array of pass catchers, led by. A. J. Green. The Bengals front office made two brilliant draft picks in taking TE Tyler Eifert and running back and dual threat Giovani Bernard, which has added diversity and explosion to the offense.
While the Jets defense might be receiving more ink and stories on I-Pads, the Bengals defensive wrecking-crew is in the top 10 in almost every key defensive stat and has the respect of sportsbooks.
NFL Betting Odds and Matchup Numbers
Cincinnati was released as touchdown favorite and though wagering outlets tried to keep bettors off New York by adding juice to the seven, they could not hold out any longer and pushed the number to 6.5. After playing three times total in 2010, these teams have not since. Cincy is a crisp 12-2 ATS after allowing 350 or more passing yards in their last game.
The total of 40.5 has wavered slightly in both directions on the NFL odds and I find the Bengals are 9-2 UNDER after playing their last game on the road.
What to Watch For
It would make little sense for Cincinnati to waste their time trying to run the ball against the Jets formidable front and instead use the two tight ends, Eifert and Jermaine Gresham, to soften up New York at the second level.
The Bengals can also use Bernard out in the flat with his quickness or use clear-outs to utilize him in underneath routes, matched up on a singular linebacker.
The defenses which can get right in Geno Smith’s face quickly are the ones which enjoyed the most success in limiting or stopping him. The Cincy front four is equipped for the challenge.
Cincinnati permits 3.8 yards a carry, which is tied for 13th in the league and Gang Green has a powerful offensive line and could enjoy success running between the tackles. This is an area offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg must stay persistent.
With the Bengals losing their best cover corner Leon Hall, that means reshuffling and New York will be expected to determine the right mismatches.
Ryan’s defense will focus on limiting the run like always, take away the opponents best receiver, Green in this case, and attempt to pressure Dalton into mistakes.
I honestly believe the number is spot on, but I can see the value of taking the points with one of my NFL picks since five of Cincinnati’s games have been determined by seven or fewer points.
NFL Football Free Pick- N.Y. Jets +6.5