New York DL Muhammad Wilkerson vs. Cincinnati LT Andrew Whitworth
The 6-foot-4, 315-pound Wilkerson is off to a tremendous start in his third season. He already has a career-high six sacks in just seven games, including at least one in each of his last three. Dating back to the end of the last year, Wilkerson has nine sacks in his last 12 games. He also has head coach Rex Ryan gushing.
“This guy is phenomenal,” Ryan said. “He can beat you over the center, guard or tackle. The thing I look at with him is that he’s really consistent. They shouldn’t even have a Pro Bowl if he doesn’t go this year. Without question, he should be a first-team All Pro. Don’t even have the game if he’s not going.”
While Whitworth is sure to get a heavy dose of Wilkerson this afternoon, it won’t be an all-day battle. The Jets move Wilkerson — and many of their other players — around quite a bit. It’s a staple of a Ryan-coached defense and will add a considerable mental challenge to the physical aspect of it.
“They do a lot of crazy personnel groups, a lot of different things that are going to put you in situations, kind of a call-and-run defense,” Whitworth said. “So you just never know what personnel might be on the field, what kind of things they might be lined up in. It’s a lot of recognition and being able to know where they are. These guys are good players and they try to confuse you and get you off-base. So it’s (been) a lot of studying this week.”