One of the NFL's biggest surprises thus far has been the Cincinnati Bengals, who are 5-2 and in first place in the AFC North entering Sunday's game against the New York Jets. After an overtime loss to the Packers in Week 5, the Bengals have responded with convincing wins over the Lions and Ravens. It has not been that type of season for the Jets, who are just 1-5 following last week's 54-13 loss to the Patriots.
We'll preview the game along with offering a prediction for Sunday's outcome. Here's how you can follow the action in real time.
How to watch
When the Bengals have the ball
If the Jets want to have any chance of an upset, they will have to do something to disrupt the rhythm between Joe Burrow and rookie Ja'Marr Chase. The duo connected eight times for 201 yards and a touchdown in last Sunday's win in Baltimore. Through seven games, Chase has caught six touchdowns and has averaged over 100 receiving yards per game. Look for Robert Saleh's defense to pay extra attention to Chase while forcing Burrow to rely more on his other playmakers. The Jets also can't fall asleep on the Bengals' rushing attack, which continues to be led by Joe Mixon.
When the Jets have the ball
The Jets' offensive line has to hold their own against a Bengals defense that is tallied the fifth most sacks in the NFL. Specifically, the Jets' line will have to keep an eye on defensive ends Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard. Hendrickson leads the Bengals with 6.5 sacks, while Hubbard is coming off a 2.5 sack performance in last Sunday's win over Baltimore. The Jets also have to find a way to put quarterback Mike White in manageable third down situations. An effective running game (led by rookie running back Michael Carter) and safe, easy completions to Corey Davis and Keelan Cole could be the answer. The Jets need to find a way to control the clock, as the best defense against Burrow and the Bengals' offense is an opposing offense that can keep them on the sideline.
Every team in the NFL is capable of pulling off an upset. The Jets proved that back in Week 3, when they defeated the Titans in overtime for their first win of the season. With that being said, I don't see the Bengals losing to a Jets team that near the bottom in the league in several significant categories. I'm expecting another big game from Burrow and the Bengals' pass rushers, led by Hendrickson, Hubbard and defensive tackle B.J. Hill.
Score: Bengals 31, Jets 13