Last week Atlanta posed a challenge to the Patriots defense to see if they were for real, and the Patriots defense stood up to the challenge. This week the Bengals pose a challenge to the Patriots offense and we will see just how good this offense is or how much is left to work on.
The 4- 0 Patriots travel to Cincinnati Sunday to take on the 2 – 2 Bengals.
Here are 3 players to watch for:
OG Logan Mankins
– Mankins will take on one of the best defensive players on the Bengals team, Geno Atkins. Atkins has 2.5 sacks on the season with 4 combined tackles. He is a force on the line and commands attention and for the offensive line to know where he is.
Mankins is a nasty, big, tough, rough offensive linemen that loves to hit and smash the defense. This is a key and interesting matchup, and Mankins will have his hands full all game. It will be one heck of a battle.
DT Joe Vellano
– Vellano will be the guy trying to replace Vince Wilfork this Sunday. The Patriots will probably rotate the position with many different players but Vellano should see the most snaps especially if he is effective. Vellano did a good job against the Falcons last Sunday when he filled in for Vince Wilfork. The Patriots gave up a combined 58 yards between the Falcons two runners for the game last Sunday which is excellent.
Vellano recorded his first sack of the season when he performed an impressive swim move on a Falcons offensive linemen and closed in quickly on Matt Ryan for a big sack.
The Bengals running game hasn’t been great this year but Bernard is a good, quick, and explosive runningback who can challenge the Patriots defense, so it will be interesting to see how Vellano and the Pats stop the run.
S Reggie Nelson
– Safety Reggie Nelson has been dealing with injuries but if he is 100% healthy he could offer a big impact for the Bengals.
He stalks the backfield and is a hard hitting safety that will light up a receiver that comes across his lane. The Patriots receivers will be hit hard in this game by Nelson and company. Nelson has also recorded an interception this year.
Brady is sure to keep an eye out for where Nelson is on the field and try to throw away from his area but Nelson is an impact player to watch for.