Bengals vs Jets: Joe Burrow returns to form and other bold predictions

Cincinnati Bengals v Dallas Cowboys
Cincinnati Bengals v Dallas Cowboys / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

Two weeks are in the books for the Cincinnati Bengals, and so far, not so good. It's been two "close, but no cigar" weeks for Joe Burrow and company, suffering last-second defeats to Pittsburgh and Dallas.

As Axel Rose once famously asked, "Where do we go now?", well, where do we go? All signs point up. This team should at least be 1-1 and are a better start away from 2-0. I know that's hindsight, but that's all the sight we have at this point, so we have to hang our hopes on something.

The defense, aside from a mind-numbing half of football against Cooper Rush has been solid, and the offense has played well enough in both second halves to win both games if the Bengals can actually come out and put points on the board in the first quarter, they might be alright. That has been the issue -- lack of points in the first half. Zac Taylor and company were able to pull that off numerous times last year, but at some point, you have to figure out why the team just isn't productive in the first half. Will this be the week?

That's what bold predictions are for! Bold predictions are fun, because they don't have to be correct. It's much easier to be bold than right, but if you can be both, you are a genius. Or lucky. Or just plain right.

I don't know if any of the following predictions will come true, but if they do, suffice to say the Bengals will be in the win column for next week's article. That would certainly be fun, wouldn't it? Let's see what bold predictions are in store for the Week 3 game against the Jet in the Meadowlands.

Bengals Score on the First Drive

This is a shocking fact, but did you know Joe Burrow has exactly one career touchdown pass to cap off the first or second drive of a game? I didn't either. Thinking about last season, in particular, the Bengals seemed to always be behind. The recipe was usually get behind big, adjust at the half, and furiously rally in the second half. That has been the recipe so far in 2022, but it isn't exactly working out. So what do you do?

Well, the team could consider NOT scripting the first and second drive of the game. Most NFL teams script the first 15 plays, including the Bengals who script both first drives, but how is that working out for them? I don't need to answer that, as our frustration is answer enough. Certainly, Zac and Joe, and the rest of the offense feel the pain as well.

Here's an idea: Score early, set the tone, and dictate the game; Punch rather than counter punch. This is a good roster of veteran players, they can counterpunch and keep the team in games but score first and dictate the pace, and good things will happen with a good roster. This Sunday, the Bengals will march down on the first drive and Joey Franchise will seal the deal to Hayden Hurst. You heard it here first!

Defense has multiple sacks and takeaways

This one may be even bolder than a Hayden Hurst touchdown reception. The defense has played well through the first two games, but there has been a decided lack of a pass rush. What gives? The Bengals have two stud rush ends, and solid interior linemen, so the pass rush should be getting home more often. Pittsburgh nor Dallas boasts what anyone would call good offensive lines, yet we don't see the jailbreaks on every play like we do when we are on offense.

Lou Anarumo is not exactly a blitzing coordinator, especially from the linebacker position, but the secondary should be solid enough to hold up if an occasional blitzing safety or linebacker was utilized. Zac Taylor's hesitance to play young guys like Joseph Ossai and Dax Hill is also puzzling. Why not get young legs and speed on the field at least situationally?

The secondary has also dropped or just missed interceptions in both games. Those plays simply have to be made. A pick here and a sack, or at least a pressure on third and long go a long way towards winning. This week, old friend Joe Flacco is going to find the going rough, as the Bengals' pass rush finally gets off, and Mike Hilton finally squeezes the ball and makes an interception. The defense will record multiple sacks, and multiple takeaways for the first time this year.

Joe Burrow rediscovers Joey Franchise

This isn't so much a bold prediction as a matter of time. Joe Burrow just hasn't been himself through two games, and the results reflect that. Defenses have been playing specifically to take away the downfield plays, and Burrow's frustration is evident. He has the arm strength to fit the ball in any window, but the timing has been slightly off, causing interceptions.

Factor in the lack of time he has to scan the field and find open targets, and it's no wonder the team is winless. However, the line was historically terrible last year yet the team still made the Super Bowl, so what gives? It comes down to reps.

Burrow had the appendectomy and subsequent weight loss that caused him to get basically no work in camp. Every quarterback needs practice and reps, except maybe Tom Brady, but how does he look so far? Joey needs time to get a rhythm going, and two full games should be enough. The timing, communication issues with the o line, and physical part should all be about to come together.

It sounds oversimplified to say this is basically week one for Joe Burrow, but physically and mentally that might be the case. Let's hope so. Joe Burrow will come out on fire this week, and his pent-up frustration with two straight losses is going to be taken out on the Jets 31st ranked pass defense. This could be a Raven-esque performance by Burrow, putting him back on the map for MVP consideration.

All-Time Leaders in Passing Yards. dark. Next

There you go kids, three bold predictions for the tilt with the Jets. Let's hope I at least hit one and the Bengals get a win. If I hit all three, it's going to be the best Sunday of the season so far.