TV Schedule: Sunday, Oct. 6, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS
Stadium: Paul Brown Stadium
Weather: Low 49, High 75
The New England Patriots are the lone undefeated team left in the AFC East and one of the few left in the NFL. Tom Brady lost a group of his favorite targets from a season ago, including Aaron Hernandez, Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski who might return to play this week. Brady has turned Julian Edelman into a serious option to pass to when Gronkowski and Danny Amendola return to play. Brady has passed for 1,014 yards and seven touchdowns to lead the Pats to a 4-0 record, connecting on 34 of his 93 completions to Edelman for 319 yards and two scores. Kenbrell Thompkins has also stepped up big-time in the pass game, catching 15 passes for 257 yards and three touchdowns.
Andy Dalton leads the underachieving Cincinnati Bengals into this matchup with the Pats at home. The Bengals are underperforming greatly on offense given the expectations handed down to them prior to the season. Cincinnati was expected to win the AFC and make a strong push at a Super Bowl appearance. They have been a lower-tiered offense so far in 2013, ranking 22nd in points, yards and rush yards per game. Dalton has 1,003 yards and five touchdowns, connecting with A.J. Green more often than not. Green has 26 catches for 300 yards and three scores — he has been everything the Bengals hoped he would be. Rookie running back Giovani Bernard has emerged with 147 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries.
Defensively, the Patriots don’t give up too many points, but are, otherwise, a middle-of-the-pack defense. Allowing just 14.2 points per game, the Patriots also give up the 16th most yards with 346 per game. The Bengals allow more points, but are better in the yardage allowed category. They give up 20 points per game, but allow just 334 yards per game — good for 13th-best mark in the league.
PREDICTION: Patriots 23, Bengals 31