Protecting Tom Brady will be the key to victory when the New England Patriots take on the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday. The teams that have slowed Brady down in his career have all been able to get pressure on him without sending linebackers or defensive backs into the pass rush. And that’s exactly what the Bengals are built to do.
Cincinnati sports one of the best pass-rushing defensive lines in the NFL. Carlos Dunlap, Domata Peko, Geno Atkins and Michael Johnson have combined for 8.5 sacks in just the first four games of the season. That kind of production is scary for a New England team that relies on the passing game to move the ball.
Much has been made this year about the lack of weapons for Brady. He deserves better from the team. He deserves the kind of receivers that will take advantage of all he brings to the table. But as we’ve seen before, none of that matters if they can’t keep him clean.
The offensive line for the Patriots has played at a high level all year, especially in their Week 4 win against the Atlanta Falcons. The New England line didn’t allow a single sack, and only gave up two hits on Brady.
They have one of the best interior linemen in the league in Logan Mankins along with two good, young tackles in Sebastian Vollmer and Nate Solder. Solder has been so impressive this year that he hasn’t allowed a single sack while protecting Brady’s blindside.
New England is going to need the same kind of play from the men up front if they’re going to pull off another upset and beat the Bengals this week.
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