Cincinnati Bengals vs. New York Jets: Storylines, prediction for Week 8 AFC matchup

One team is atop the AFC, the other is thinking about 2022. Here are the top stories from Week 8's Cincinnati Bengals vs. New York Jets game.

The Cincinnati Bengals (5-2) had their biggest win in years last Sunday, stomping the Ravens 41-17 in Baltimore. Because they did, the Bengals enter Week 8 in an unfamiliar place: atop the AFC playoff table. The New York Jets, meanwhile, stand on familiar ground midway through the season — far out of the playoff race with questions at coach, general manager, and quarterback. Let’s dive into the most important factors in this Week 8 Cincinnati Bengals vs. New York Jets matchup.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. New York Jets storylines

The Bengals and Jets are franchises headed in two different directions. Cincinnati is gearing up for what could be a deep playoff run, while New York is probably already thinking about how to fix a perpetually broken roster.

Can the Bengals avoid a letdown?

Good teams beat good teams. Great teams beat bad teams the week after beating good teams. The Bengals have been through this once already, beating the Vikings in Week 1 only to turn around and lose to the Bears — who we can all agree are not good — in Week 2.

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Cincinnati can’t afford a slip-up with the 10th-toughest remaining schedule. The Bengals still have six games against the Browns (whom they play twice), Steelers, Ravens, Chargers, and Raiders. Furthermore, just one game separates the first and seventh seeds in the AFC. Still, the computers like Cincinnati’s chances (77%, according to FiveThirtyEight) to reach the postseason for the first time since 2015.

Jets players auditioning for other teams?

Jets head coach Robert Saleh suggested this week that New York won’t be sellers just to be sellers ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline.

“If it’s something that’s going to help us, awesome,” Saleh said. “But I also know we’re not looking for a fire sale either.”

Our question: Why not? The Jets are 1-5. That same FiveThirtyEight model that gave the Bengals more than a three in four chance to go to the playoffs says the Jets’ odds of reaching the postseason are less than 1%. Safety Marcus Maye is the most obvious player for the Jets to move. He’s playing out the last 11 games of his franchise tag, and the Jets are at high risk of losing him in the offseason.

If they can get a 2022 fifth-rounder or better for him (that’s the equivalent of the 2023 fourth they would receive as a compensatory pick if they don’t sign a bunch of other free agents in March), they should make a trade and move on with their lives.

What can Mike White do with a week of preparation?

Zach Wilson is out for at least a few games with a sprained knee. While the Jets did trade for Joe Flacco during the week, they’re excited to see what they have in backup Mike White, who had not thrown an NFL pass before last week.

White, 26, is a former fifth-round pick who began his college career at South Florida before transferring to Western Kentucky.

“I mean, I’m starting an NFL game, so that’s pretty freakin’ cool,” White said.

Bengals vs. Jets betting line and game prediction

The Bengals vs. Jets is one of three Week 8 games with double-digit point spreads. The Jets are 10.5-point dogs, and frankly, we don’t know why it’s this close. Cincinnati is ninth in Football Outsiders’ efficiency metric, DVOA. New York is last.

Bengals vs. Jets prediction: Bengals 27, Jets 10

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