The easy part is over, quickly vanishing in the rearview miror. The Jets are in the playoffs thanks to last night's exhilarating 37-0 pasting of Chad Ochocinco & Co., paving the way for a rematch this Saturday in Cincy.
Now, the biggest challenge the Jets face is answering the proverbial question of "Can they do it again?" against a team they will have just faced six days prior, especially knowing how perturbed the Bengals likely are after getting their you-know-what handed to them on national television.
Marques Douglas, speaking with us on a conference call earlier a little while ago, understands the task at hand of playing the Bengals again after such a quick turnaround.
"It's going to be difficult because both teams, I don’t think, really showed all of what we’re capable of," he said. "Even though we had a shutout yesterday, there still were a lot of things that we didn’t do defensively. We didn’t need to show all of our cards. They have a very explosive passing game and running game. They didn’t want to show their hand and we didn’t want to show our hand also. Going into Cincinnati on Saturday will be very difficult because we know that they can run the ball and get the ball down field a lot better than what they showed last night."
So, you mean it was like a poker game of sorts?
"It was somewhat of a poker game except they were holding most or the chips coming into the contest because they already had clinched the playoffs," Douglas said. "And we had to make sure that whever we called, it was going to be a hard-hitting, fast play that would allow our offense to get on the field and get us off the field."
Speaking of offense, RG Brandon Moore thinks the coaching staff is going to take a look at their successful game plan and tweak it a bit to counteract whatever the Bengals are going to do. After letting the Jets rip off 257 yards on 57 rushes last night, there's no way Cincinatti isn't going to make some kind of adjustments.
"Schematically, Coach [Brian] Schottenheimer and [Bill] Callahan and all of the guys are going to have to look at the film and devise ways in which [the Bengals may] answer certain things we did, especially with Brad. I think emotionally, as far as playing the game, we just have to be prepared for them to come out and play a really tough game. It’s the playoffs and a new season. You have to expect that it’s not going to be as easy as it might have looked on Sunday."
It's also safe to assume the Bengals will be more prepared to key on Mr. All-Purpose himself, Brad Smith, next time around than they were last night. Smith had 92 yards and a touchdown on four attempts, and nearly had another TD but was dragged down from behind at the 1-yard line following his 57-yard burst on the game's first series.
The "Tiger" formation hadn't worked much throughout the season, but has been a bit more effective lately. I asked Smith what's been the difference.
"I think the guys up front have really committed to it and have really taken the time to try and perfect it and get really good at it," Smith said. "The hard work is starting to pay off. There’s still a lot more yards and points that are still out there for us."