I always look forward to a matchup against a team like the New England Patriots. The Cincinnati Bengals know what’s at stake in this game — losing to Tom Brady, no one likes losing to Tom Brady — and they will come ready to put up a fight.
It’s still early, but from what we’ve seen so far with Rookie Mini-Camp and Organized Team Activities, the Bengals are already looking like a well oiled machine. All of their players — with one notable exception — have returned ready to work hard, the coaches have begun work on their new offense and defense, and each and every one of the drafted rookies are giving the Bengals reason to be excited.
When the Bengals reach Week 5, they will be 3-1, will have been hit with a big dose of humility at the hands of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Week 3, and know that if they want a win against the Patriots, even at home, they’ve got to battle for it. The biggest weakness that the Bengals’ defense had in 2012 was perhaps the Patriots’ biggest strength: the tight end. Last season, the Bengals gave 127 catches (24th), 895 yards (20th) and five touchdowns (16th) all to tight ends, showing that they are clearly inefficient at covering the tight end position as it moves out into the field.
This year, however, they have a pretty obvious ace in the hole. The Bengals’ offense is working on their new two-tight-end system. At this point, it’s pretty obvious that the Bengals are going to run a pretty heavy two tight end offense in 2013 and because of this, the Bengals’ defense will have no option but to work on their coverage of this type of offense which will come in very handy playing against the likes of the Patriots’ defense.
I’m also going to go ahead and make a bold statement here and now — it’s not really that bold — and say that outside of Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots aren’t going to have much of an offense to pass to. Picking up aging receiver Michael Jenkins, a slot receiver with a career of less than 1,500 yards in Danny Amendola, and a receiver that has barely seen the pitch in his five years with the Tennessee Titans, Lavelle Hawkins, the Patriots have really set themselves up for an uphill battle in 2013. It seems that they’ve decided that they really want to give Brady a challenge, and with the Bengals’ defense practicing more efficiently, a challenge is what Brady is going to get in week five.
The Patriots have Brady, but the Bengals have something that Brady doesn’t have: an A.J. Green. He’s going to be the key in this game because while the Patriots’ defense is busy covering Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham, Green will be able to stretch the length and breadth of the field in single coverage.
Look for the Bengals to eat up huge yards with Green in this game.
A close game, but with a lack of weapons for Brady, I have to give this game to the Bengals
Bengals 24, Patriots 20
Simon Greene – Cincinnati Bengals Writer. Be sure to Follow Simon on Twitter @simongreene88