1. Can Cincinnati's corners neutralize the Jets receivers, so the safeties can play the run?
Pro Bowl voters snubbed Bengals corners Jonathan Joseph and Leon Hall, but at least one of them should have made it. They will be asked to cover Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery man-to-man to free up the safeties to work in run support. The Jets have attempted the most rushing plays (607) in the NFL and the fewest passes (393).
New York's offensive line will block a Bengals front seven that is missing LB Rey Maualuga, but it can't block the safeties as well. The Jets convert only 29 percent of third downs when they have to go at least 4 yards. There will be first-down opportunities to throw, but can rookie Mark Sanchez capitalize on them with Cincinnati's corners playing tight man coverage?
2. Can Cincinnati block New York's pressure scheme?
3. Which quarterback can make the plays in the fourth quarter to win the game?
I would be surprised if this turned into a high scoring game. Both offenses average less than 20 points per game and need help from their stingy defenses or special teams in the scoring department.
Sanchez is on the road in his first playoff game, and has never led his team on a game-winning drive. Palmer is at home, and is a former Pro Bowl quarterback with 16 game-winning drives to his credit.
Sanchez has thrown eight more interceptions than touchdowns this year and has been sacked once per every 14 dropbacks, while Palmer has eight more touchdowns than picks and gets sacked once in every 19 dropbacks.