The New England Patriots are looking to stay undefeated tomorrow while the Bengals are looking to improve to 3 – 2 on the season with a big win over New England.
This game will test the Patriots offense and I expect a good ole fashion slobber knocker.
I’m breaking down the 3 keys to a New England victory.
Protect Tom Brady
– Protecting Tom Brady is an absolute must in this game for the Patriots. If they want any hope in winning then they need to protect him.
The line will face their toughest test of the young season going against some of the best pass rushers in the league. Carlos Dunlap, and Geno Atkins are a handful and New England will have their hands full with them and a few other players, not to mention their heavy hitter in the back field, Reggie Nelson.
New England in the past have lost games to physical, tough, pass rushing teams so this is their chance to prove they are a different New England team, in a good way. The Patriots can’t lose close games to a physical opponent and can’t be outmatched. This is why they lost to the Seahawks, Cardinals, and Ravens last year. Good, physical defenses who pushed the Patriots around and knocked Brady around. That can not happen tomorrow and New England can’t be that same team if they expect to go far in the postseason.
To win it all starts with the offensive line play, if they can protect Brady then they have a great shot at winning the game.
Stopping the tight ends
– Stopping the tight ends will go a long way in this game.
The Patriots gave up over 140 yards receiving to Tony Gonzalez and two touchdowns last week and today they will be facing two good tight ends. They can’t allow those guys to beat them like they did Gonzalez.
Tight ends were one of the Patriots weakness last year and now that they are playing better tight ends they can’t start getting beat by them.
The Bengals run a two tight end formation with two monsters, Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert. They have combined for 30 catches for 340 yards this season.
The Patriots will have to cover them and AJ Green and whoever gets the task must stop these guys or they can kill the Patriots tomorrow. Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Arrington better bring their A game tomorrow and stop these guys because if they don’t Cincy will be very tough to beat. Not to mention it doesn’t give the Patriots a vote of confidence against tight ends for the remainder of the season.
Establishing the run
– This needs to be done tomorrow. The Patriots, aside from one game this season, (against Jets) have established the run and it has helped a lot. Against the Falcons the Patriots made a point to run it a lot and it set up the very effective play action. Brady is one of the best play action Quarterbacks in the league and if New England can get the run going they can start using that ammo against the Bengals.
Stevan Ridley is out after a good game against the Falcons with a thigh bruise. LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden will be asked to fill the void. One of them, if not both of them, needs to make an impact on this game running the ball.
The Patriots are very tough to beat when they can run the football.