Jets look for 4th straight win at Cincinnati

Nobody in the NFL can really understand what it's like to be the Cincinnati Bengals right now.

But the New York Jets have a pretty good idea what it's like to be in such a desperate position -- and know they don't want to return there anytime soon, especially Sunday, when New York looks to extend its winning streak to four games with a visit to the winless Bengals.

The Jets continued surging with a stunning 34-3 upset of the visiting Oakland Raiders last Sunday. The host Bengals remained the lone NFL team without a win by falling at home to the Pittsburgh Steelers 16-10.

The win was the third in a row for the Jets (4-7), who have used a dominant defense and an opportunistic offense to salvage something from a once-disastrous season.

The Jets have scored 34 points in each of the last three games, a span in which they've scored two defensive touchdowns while forcing five turnovers and collecting 13 sacks. Second-year quarterback Sam Darnold, fully recovered from his September bout with mononucleosis, has thrown for seven touchdowns and just one interception over the three games while posting a passer rating of 117.2.

The surge has generated some quiet playoff chatter about the Jets, who are two games out of a wild-card spot in a conference that could yield a 9-7 playoff team. Of course, just three weeks ago, New York was 1-7 and fresh off a loss to the then-winless Miami Dolphins, so head coach Adam Gase isn't worried about his team overlooking Cincinnati.

"We're 4-7, we were 1-7 not long ago," Gase said Wednesday afternoon. "We're going on the road in the NFL. Those games are never easy games to be part of. Weather's probably not going to be great. We've got to be wired in, we've got to make sure that we bring our ‘A' game."

An ‘A' game has been elusive for the Bengals, who broke the franchise record for most consecutive losses to open a season last week. The Jets' recent surge provides some inspiration to Cincinnati, which has held a lead in eight games and has either led or tied a game in the fourth quarter five times.

"It just takes that first win," first-year Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said Wednesday. "You get that win, you get your mojo back a little bit and get going. And now they're on a roll, three-game winning streak. And nobody would have said that three weeks ago, probably."

The Bengals will look to a familiar face to help them get over the hump. Ninth-year quarterback Andy Dalton, whose tenure with the team seemed to end when he was benched for rookie Ryan Finley following Week 8, was re-named the starter this week after the Finley-directed offense scored just 33 points in three games.

"I have no idea what's going to happen moving forward," Dalton said. "I'm just worried about these next five (games)."

Darnold was a notable addition to the Jets' injury report Wednesday with knee and left thumb issues, though he was a full participant in practice and is on pace to play Sunday. Cornerback Darryl Roberts, who has missed the last two games, was a limited participant Wednesday and is expected to return Sunday.

For the Bengals, Dalton's longtime top target, wide receiver A.J. Green, has been out all season with an ankle injury and sat out practice once again Wednesday.

--Field Level Media