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  • Craig Gorbunoff

A Beacon of Hope: Football in New York 15 Years After

9/11 2016… 15 years after one of the most tragic things to happen in our country. And just as football was an important symbol of our country 15 years ago with the NFL canceling games, football is now being played on an important anniversary. Earlier this week, Matt Fortê was said in regards to playing on 9/11

“Week 1 there’s always a lot of excitement leading to football and the season starting,” Forté said. “So there’s that factor, but also I’m in New York now and it being 9/11 and the significance of that adds another factor. So it’s going to be an exciting day and I look forward to being there and participating in all that and having fun out there.”

This game versus the Cincinnati Bengals is not only important for the pride of New Yorkers, but also the Jets season as a whole. The Jets easily have the hardest first six weeks of anyone in the NFL. This is a game that is certainly winnable by the Jets, however injuries might hamper the Jets odds. David Harris is listed as questionable, and Jordan Jenkins is listed as doubtful with backup Mike Catapano likely to start opposite Lorenza Mauldin. The Bengals have their injuries as well with Tyler Eifert out and former 1st round pick Darqueze Denard listed as doubtful.

These two teams match up well against one another. The Jets have a skilled defensive line; the Bengals have a great offensive line. Both teams have talented Quarterbacks, and strong run games. However, where the Jets have an advantage that they didn’t have the last time they played the Bengals, is an incredible group of Wide Receivers. Outside of AJ Green, the Bengals don’t have many targets to throw to. While the Jets from top to bottom on their depth chart have players who can make a difference. As long as Coach Bowles gives Revis a bit of safety help against Green I believe the Jets should be able to “out pass” the Bengals.

With the injury to David Harris, Jets fans might get to see their 1st round pick in action a littler earlier than expected. Darron Lee performed well in the preseason, Coach Bowles talked very highly of his growth over the offseason and preseason. Lee will be a crucial part of the defense this week, needing to cover the likes of Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard out of the back field. He’s benefited from having to cover Fortê and Powell all offseason. Lee was quoted saying “I’ve been paying attention to their running backs and they’re very good, they have Jeremy Hill, who is more of a power back and will come at you, and then you have a scatback in 25 (Gionvanni Bernard). It’s a heck of a football team. They play hard.” While some fans may not like that quote, it shows respect to veterans of the league and also demonstrates that Lee is in fact a student of the game. Football is so mental that it’s important for young players to study day in and day out.

This game being played in Metlife Stadium is truly a huge advantage for the Jets this week. The atmosphere of the 15th year anniversary of 9/11, the strength that the city of New York had then and has now is an aura that should give this team the extra motivation it needs to get a much needed win against the Bengals.

My Prediction: The Jets come to play hard and play fast. The offense is explosive early, with an Ariel attack that the Bengals defense can’t slow down. Late in the game Andy Dalton will mount a comeback, but it will be too little too late. The Jets open the season 1-0 with a final score of 24-17.

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