Cincinatti Bengals (3-0) vs. New England Patriots (2-1)
Patriots Keys to Victory
1. Take advantage of Cincy’s depleted linebackers (no Pollack or Thurman) and run the ball up the middle and between the tackles with Corey Dillon, and use Maroney as a change of pace up the middle, and to the outside.
2. Brady needs to keep up the chemistry with his new receivers. If Chad Jackson is feeling healthy, and Gabriel and Caldwell can do what they did last week, it will give us more options on the run.
3. Defensive backs: STICK TO YOUR RECEIVERS. This will be even harder with Hobbs and Wilson out. Players like Chad Scott and Willie Andrews and James Sanders will need to step up to fill the void.
4. Defensive line needs to slow down Rudi Johnson. They have done it most of the year (except maybe Denver), Seymour, Warren, and Wilfork have to keep penetrating and slowing down Rudi Johnson and make him one dimensional.
5. Get a pass rush going. We will really need a pass rush to put some heat on Carson Palmer, especially with all of the defensive backs missing. I think we need some stunts from the linebackers to get this job done.
Final Prediction: 35-31, Pats on top. We haven’t lost back to back games in 52 straight, third longest streak of all time, and I don’t see anything changing here. Pats will win in an offensive shootout.