It’s no mystery what the intentions of the Cincinnati Bengals will be as they host the 4-0 New England Patriots this Sunday.
With Pats DB Aqib Talib playing shutdown defense in the secondary, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is sure to continue to have trouble connecting with his number one receiver, A.J. Green. Lucky for Cincinnati, the Patriots suffered a significant loss in last Sunday’s first quarter in the Georgia Dome. The Patriots have placed defensive tackle Vince Wilfork on season-ending IR, creating opportunity for a successful Bengals running back core.
“I’m sure they’re going to try to run the ball more,” defensive tackle Tommy Kelly told the Boston Herald. “I mean, we’re lighter up front now. Take Vince out, I mean, I’d try to run the ball more. That’s being smart, but I think we’re more than capable of handling the job.”
Kelly may be right as the Falcons didn’t have much success on the ground with or without Wilfork in the lineup up. Granted, Atlanta didn’t have their key off-season pickup Steven Jackson active last Sunday. Kelly looked great in the absence of Wilfork, and should continue to do his job effectively. The biggest concern is the depth at DT with their 300 plus pound run blocker out of the picture. Joe Vellano, an undrafted rookie, and former sixth-round pick Chris Jones are the only other two defensive tackles on the Patriots roster.
“If you’re any type of competitor, who wants someone to look at you, to me, to make me look like a little stepbrother?” Wilfork asked. “Without the big brother and you’re going to try me like that? I just told Joe, ‘Don’t try to be like V. Be the best Joe Vellano you can be, and you’ll be fine.’ “
This Sunday match-up will prove to be an interesting one with many great story lines. Will Talib continue his hot streak? He has 4 interceptions so far and is proving to be worth far more than a one-year deal that New England currently has him for.
BenJarvis Green-Ellis makes his first ever appearance against his former team, where he thrived. He was able to boast within the New England system that he never once turned the ball over during his Patriot tenure. Such has not been the case thus far in Cincinnati, but with a counter-punch part in rookie running back Giovani Bernard, the Bengals will definitely take their chances on the ground with a big hole supposedly open on that New England d-line.
Tom Brady needs two more touchdowns to surpass Fran Tarkenton’s 341 TD mark, which will put Brady at 4th all-time in career touchdowns. He also has two more games to go to tie Drew Brees’ record of 54 consecutive games with a TD pass. Do the Bengals have what it takes to keep that from happening?
New England is currently undefeated as Cincinnati looks to be the team to hand the Patriots their first loss of the season. The Bengals could really use this one as the AFC North is a lot tighter than what was expected. And certainly there are higher expectations on Cincy as opposed to the current AFC North leaders, the Cleveland Browns.
Which story line are you most excited about? Let us know on Twitter!
Sports-Kings Down and Distance Contributor Austin Peat @PistolPeat187
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