New England Patriots Look to Get Right Against Cincinnati Bengalsby Mike Sullivan December 14, 2019 0 comments
You know how a fighter will go against a lesser opponent to get their confidence up for when they eventually battle some much tougher opposition? That’s what we have here.
There’s only so much one can say to hype this game up. A “battle” between a 10-3 and a 1-12 team is like that one bad episode in the season of your favorite show where you’re going to watch it because you’re invested, but you really just want it to be over with so you can move on to the good episodes.
The Patriots’ offense has been about as consistent as the weather in New England, but going against a team that ranks 23rd in points, 31st in yards, and sits dead last in rush yards allowed per game is exactly what this team needs to see nothing but bright skies ahead. Beat up on a team that has no business stopping anything you do, and that’s the confidence boost that Brady and company can ride into the playoffs.
We all know what the outcome is going to be here. It’s like every comic book movie; you know the good guy is going to win, but you just don’t know exactly how they’re going to do it.
Although, calling the Patriots the “good guys” at this point would be a stretch. When it comes to the general public and media pundits everywhere, the New England Patriots are Public Enemy No. 1. In case you’ve been living under a rock this week, the Pats are in the midst of a somewhat laughable “cheating scandal.” And while that would derail lesser teams in the league, don’t look for that to happen with New England.
Cincinnati should be very, very nervous about this game. No team in the league plays better or harder when they have the entire NFL world tearing them down at every turn. You could feel the frustration from Bill Belichick this entire week and that anger will trickle down to every player in the locker room.
This team is looking to take their frustrations out on someone, and the Bengals are directly in their crosshairs.
With A.J. Green still out, there’s really only one thing you have to worry about with this offense: Joe Mixon. The 23-year-old running back can hurt you with his legs and his hands. He currently sits 14th in the league with 789 rush yards and that’s with sharing carries with Giovani Bernard. Mixon can catch the ball out of the backfield when needed, too, which has proven to be one of, if not the only, glaring weakness with this Patriots defense.
Both the Texans and Chiefs took advantage of the relatively slow Patriots linebackers and used check-downs or passes to their running backs to attack them. The only difference here is that this Bengals offense is nothing like those of the last two New England has faced. So, Belichick can focus more on stopping those short passes that turn into big gains while having confidence that his secondary can shut down this mediocre-at-best Cincinnati receiving corps.
On the Patriots side of the ball, this should be a get-right game in all phases. The running game should finally find its stride against such a horrendous Bengals front. And, once you start running the ball down their throat, that’s when the passing game will open up, leaving room for N’Keal Harry to shine.
Josh McDaniels said earlier this week that he needs to find more ways to get the rookie wideout involved in the offense and this upcoming game against the Bengals is the perfect time to do so. This Patriots offense should come out of this game with some newfound success that they can carry through the end of the regular season and into the playoffs.
The Patriots haven’t lost three consecutive games in over 6,200 days, and that’s not changing this weekend.
Prediction: Patriots 24, Bengals 9