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NFL New England Patriots

5 Keys For New England Patriots To Go 5-0

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New England Patriots: 5 Keys For 5-0

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The New England Patriots are 4-0 and will Travel to Cincinnati to face the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. The Bengals are 2-2 and are coming off of a loss against the reborn Cleveland Browns. They are not having the start to the season that they were hoping for, but the Bengals have plenty of talent and can win any given week against any opponent. The Patriots are coming off of a huge win in Atlanta and look to keep up their pace and move to 5-0 as they are on the road for a second straight week. With the first three weeks being easier games, the Patriots came out with a big win in Week 4 against the Falcons. The next two weeks does not get any easier, and will be a good look at how real this Patriots team is. If the Patriots play well and beat this competition regardless of the offensive struggles, they will have to be considered one of the best teams in the league.

The Patriots will have their hands full once again with a Bengals team full of great players. A.J. Green and Andy Dalton have built a great connection since coming into the NFL in 2011. Green has established himself as one of the best WRs in the league and will be a handful for the Patriots' secondary. The Bengals' defensive line is one of the best in the NFL and with players like Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap, the Patriots’ offensive line will be challenged to keep the pressure off of Tom Brady. Brady will need time and will hopefully have Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski back, which will be a big help against a good Bengals defense.

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5. Protect Tom Brady

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The Patriots will have to do a good job protecting Tom Brady, so the offensive line will be key against the Bengals. The Pats' offensive line has a history of playing well regardless who is in there, but they will be challenged by possibly the best defensive line they will see all season. Bill Belichick gave Geno Atkins praise in his press conference on Wednesday, recognizing Atkins as one of, if not the best DT in the league. Ryan Wendell and Logan Mankins will both have their hands full with Atkins bringing pressure up the middle.

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4. Contain A.J. Green

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For a third straight week, Aqib Talib will have his hands full with one of the best playmaking receivers in the league. A.J. Green was taken two picks before Julio Jones, who Talib covered well last week. Green is not as physical of a receiver as Jones, but he is 6-foot-4 and has some of the best leaping ability and hands in the league. He is a nightmare for one-on-one coverage, and the Patriots will have to do similar things to Green as they did to Jones last week. Talib has shown that he should be considered as one of the best CBs in the league, but he will have to continue his level of play against elite competition to not only help the Patriots defense be successful, but help himself get a big contract.

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3. Stop The Run In Wilfork's Absence

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Vince Wilfork is most likely done for the season with a torn Achilles, and the Patriots will be losing one of the best run-stopping DTs in the league. The defense is going to have to step up in the absence of Wilfork and do a good job limiting teams from running up the middle against them. The Bengals have a good rookie RB in Giovani Bernard, who is effective running the ball and is a threat in the passing game too. Brandon Spikes will be key in stopping Gio from finding room up the middle and will have to limit the holes that will open up without Wilfork taking up space over center. Opposing teams will most likely attempt to pound the rock up the middle until the Patriots can prove that they are still good against the rush.

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2. Establish The Run

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Off the last topic, the Patriots will have to establish the run once again to be successful in the passing game. Stevan Ridley has missed time this week at practice with a leg or knee injury, which means the other RBs will have to step up. With limited touches, LeGarrette Blount has had two very solid weeks running the football, which has allowed the Pats to use the play-action very successfully. If Ridley is out, Blount will most likely get more touches and could establish himself as the no. 1 RB if he continues to break off big runs and keep moving the chains. One reason the Patriots have been getting better as a passing team is the success they have had on the ground in the last two weeks.

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1. Health On Offense

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The passing game has improved every week, but the Patriots still need to get healthy on the offensive side of the ball. If the Pats can’t get both Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola back, even getting one back will help this Pats offense drastically. Just the presence of Amendola or Gronk will open up the field for players like Julian Edelman and Kenbrell Thompkins. Brady has found success finding those receivers in the last couple weeks, but as the Patriots get healthy, this offense could quietly become one of the better ones in the league.