AFC Game Of The Week
Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) at New England Patriots (4-1)
Bengals– They were rolling around this time last year. They started the season with a 9-0 record and Andy Dalton was becoming that leader that people constantly questioning if he could ever become one. This season so far, things have been a lot different. Their offense doesn’t look to be as potent as we’ve known it to be and they really miss Tyler Eifert especially in the red zone because of all the mismatches he creates on the field and the defense hasn’t looked that great either especially when it comes to stopping the running game. Ezekiel Elliott had a huge game against them last week. The team that was the favorite to repeat as defending AFC North champions is now 2-3 and in third place looking up to both the Ravens and the Steelers. They could still get back on track this year and they play their fourth road game of the season in Foxborough on Sunday.
Patriots– They went 3-1 without Tom Brady when he was serving his four-game suspension. When he came back, the biggest concern was would he be rusty. This is Tom Brady we’re talking about. The guy that begins his workouts in March and the season starts in September. Did you really think he wouldn’t be in football shape when he returned? It wasn’t like he was eating bonbons during his time off and last week in Cleveland, he put up typical numbers, it was just another day at the office. I’m really liking this Patriots defense. They don’t have the star names like in Seattle, but performance wise, they’re just as good as them and nobody is better at taking away what it is you like to do on the field than these guys. They’ve shown they can win without their quarterback and now that he’s back, the Bengals could be in for a long day on Sunday.
Bengals Player To Watch– Domata Peko: The Bengals defense has been pushed around up front quite a bit this year. With Peko up front, he can dominate up front and allow those linebackers to come in and stop the running game along with pressuring Tom Brady.
Patriots Player To Watch– LeGarrette Blount: No team is better at exposing what you can’t stop like the New England Patriots. I’m expecting a big day from LeGarrette Blount on Sunday. He makes their offense go and is a vital piece alongside Gronk, Edelman, and Martellus Bennett.
Prediction: I remember when these two last met. It was a Sunday night showdown and New England finished the game with 505 yards of total offense. The Bengals have also played the Patriots tough in the past. I like New England at home in this one. Patriots 35 Bengals 24.