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Five questions for the Jets

Brad Smith #16 of the New York Jets

Brad Smith #16 of the New York Jets runs in a touchdown in the second quarter against Frostee Rucker #92 of the Cincinnati Bengals. (January 3, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

Does last week's result have any bearing on this game?

Not at all. If anything, it got the Bengals' attention; they know just how stout the Jets' defense and running game are. The Bengals weren't really focused coming into the game because there wasn't much for them to play for, given that they already had clinched a playoff berth. They rested top running back Cedric Benson, and wide receiver Chad Ochocinco said they were very vanilla on offense. Cincinnati didn't want to show the Jets too much, knowing the two teams would be playing again this week.

 

Does cold weather favor the Jets more than the Bengals?

That's a toss-up. Both teams have quarterbacks who hail from Southern California in Carson Palmer and Mark Sanchez. Both teams rely heavily on the run and don't air it out as much as other teams, so they still can find ways to take care of business if the passing game stalls out because of the weather. Probably the one thing that favors the Bengals is that they'll be playing at home and have been practicing outside in those conditions all week.

 

Does Rex Ryan's comment that the Jets should be Super Bowl favorites help or hurt?

It could hurt. The Jets won't be able to tiptoe their way into Cincinnati. Granted, that might've been a tough thing to do anyway, given that the teams met last Sunday; it's not as though the Jets can sneak up on the Bengals. But beating your chest and proclaiming that you should be favored to win it all - when you're actually a long shot at 50-1 - provides the proverbial bulletin-board material for every team they might face. From the Jets players' perspective, they love it when their coach speaks his mind, but they also know they must back it up.

 

If leading tackler David Harris can't go or finish the game for some reason, who would step into his inside linebacker spot?

It would be a fill-in-by-committee approach, but the bulk of the playing time most likely would go to Ryan Fowler. He was limited in practice earlier in the week after taking a blow to the head in last Sunday's game but was a full participant in Thursday's practice. Kenwin Cummings, who spent most of last season on the practice squad and was signed to the active roster off the practice squad nearly two months ago, also would see time.

 

If the Jets win, whom do they play next week?

The Jets could play either the No. 1-seeded Colts or the No. 2 Chargers. It all depends on what happens in Sunday's AFC wild-card game featuring the No. 3 Patriots and No. 6 Ravens. As the top seed, the Colts face the lowest remaining seed. So if the favored Patriots win, the Jets take on the Colts because they'd have the worst seed of the four remaining teams. If the Ravens win, the Jets will fly to San Diego to face the Chargers.

>> PHOTOS: Jets playoff history  | Jets 37, Bengals 0

>> 10 reasons to fear the Bengals | Why the Jets should fear themselves

>> BLOG: Latest Jets-Bengals news and analysis

>> FUN: NY vs. Cincy | Best of Rex Ryan

>> MORE Jets playoff coverage | 2009 season recap

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