Date/Time: October 6th, 1:00 PM ET
Spread: Bengals -1
The New England Patriots haven’t looked the prettiest yet this year, but they are still sporting a perfect 4-0 record. They’re dogs on the road on the NFL betting lines to the Cincinnati Bengals though, and the hosts are hoping to change all of that and to stay in front in the AFC North.
Last week was an interesting one for New England, as the team really looked good throwing the football for the first time in quite some time. The combination of WR Julian Edelman and WR Kenbrell Thompkins really did look strong, and the end result was a big win on the road against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday Night Football. Now, it’s off to another tough road game, but if this one is won, it’s tough to see this team not ultimately finishing up strong and winning the AFC East and getting a first round bye in the playoffs once again. TE Rob Gronkowski still sounds like he is a week away from returning, which sounds shaky to us, knowing that we have been hearing that Gronk will be returning seemingly every week since about Week 2. One man that we know isn’t going to be in the fold is DT Vince Wilfork, who might be the most important defender on the team. The big nose tackle tore his Achilles last week against the Falcons, and his season is now said and done with.
The question, though? Can Cincinnati really exploit that weakness in the middle of the New England defensive line? The Patriots clearly don’t have another Vince Wilfork that is stepping in and playing the role of the big man in the middle as effectively as the actual Vince Wilfork, but there remains the question of whether this running game can take advantage of that or not. RB Giovani Bernard seems like he is going to be taking over for RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis as the workhorse for this backfield, and that really can help out a lot. QB Andy Dalton is coming off of one of the most frustrating games of his career against the Cleveland Browns in which he tried to force the ball time and time again to WR AJ Green, who was constantly in a blanket thanks to DB Joe Haden. DB Aqib Talib is one to watch out for in this game, as he could shut Green down again. If that’s the case, Dalton is going to have to find eyes for someone else, and we aren’t all that sure that the potential is there to do that.
We haven’t had a chance to talk about the Cincinnati defense yet, but we know that this team is as good as advertised. The Bengals can slow down this passing attack for sure, and if that turns out to be the case, we have confidence that the Bengals are winning this game. They were able to beat the Green Bay Packers at home, and they should have had the Chicago Bears downed on the road, and both of those teams, in our eyes, are better than the Pats.
New England Patriots @ Cincinnati Bengals Pick: Cincinnati Bengals -1
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.