Ah, that time of the year. Snow is coming down the cold is spreading across, holidays approaching. With ANOTHER Patriots cheating scandal. It seems that there’s another Spygate type of story. During the Browns vs Bengals game there were a Patriots / Kraft Sports Productions film crew that were allegedly recording the Bengals sidelines for the Patriots website special “Do your job” web series.
The NFL has taken the tape and the Patriots are taking full responsibility for the act and we will just have to see how this goes down in the future. So buckle up Patriots fans! The “Cheatriot” “Bill Belicheat” and “Tom Shady” jokes are back for this years campaign! I’m sorry for not spending too much time on this, but it’s the 1-12 Bengals, if you’re spying on them, you deserve zero attention. Sorry I’m not giving this too much attention, but I really don’t think this is anything major. Reports haven’t changed my mind, so we will just have to see how the league handles this mess.
Okay, back to stuff that matters. The Patriots just got absolutely brutalized by the Kansas City defense all game long last week. Meanwhile, the Pats were getting screwed by Jerome Boger and his crew. Not even going to get into that, because good teams don’t let the refs dictate games. It sucks, maybe we force OT if a couple plays weren’t jobbed. Yet they still weren’t good enough to win the game, the offense sucked and everybody struggled. The defense kept them in it but the offense did them no favors. But we move on and we have the 1-12 Cincinnati Bengals.
Three Keys To The Game
Key #1 : OFFENSIVE GAME PLAN!
This simply just goes without saying, the offense sucks. On all accounts. They can’t pass, they can’t run, they can’t block and they can’t score. Want some stats to be crammed down your throat? The Pats offense is ranked 28th in pass completion percentage, 18th in TDs, and 22nd in rushing yards per game. They just suck. Without Brady in garbage time, the passing rankings are bad too. Just simply put, PREFORM ON OFFENSE.
I’m not getting into it, go read Ryan’s recent Case Study if you want a deeper look because I’ve said all that can be said about the offense. If they don’t bulldoze the Cincinnati Bengals, their chances of even winning the AFC East (yeah, you guys forgot that we didn’t lock that up yet didn’t you?) are even slimmer.
Key #2 : Contain Joe Mixon
If there is anything to really be concerned about with the Bengals offense this year, it’s their RB Joe Mixon. He’s been pretty solid this year with 146 yards and a touchdown last week against the Browns while averaging 6.3 yards per carry. If the Bengals are going to have any offense, it’ll be through Mixon. I have faith that the defense will contain him to the best of their ability, simply because they have to. The offense has shown no ability to keep up if it becomes a shootout. Not that it should, the Bengals suck.
Key #3 : Don’t Let Referees Dictate Outcome
Yes, the Patriots were getting absolutely HOSED by the officials last week. No question. The Gilmore fumble recovery, the N’Keal Harry touchdown, a couple of questionable spots. The Jerome Boger crew called the game backwards and were too whistle happy and calling plays dead way too soon or misreading everything that was going on the whole game. But Super Bowl teams don’t let the game come down to a bad call. The Patriots were down 16 points before the comeback started. The Patriots were 2/12 on third down. INEXCUSABLE. The team wasn’t good enough to keep up. The team simply needs to play better, the referees aren’t bailing them out, so don’t let it get to that. Simple!
X-Factor : Offensive Line
You could really just put down the entire offense including position coaches, every player at every position. But let’s key in on the offensive line. Things just don’t seem to be getting any better for Scarnecchia’s crew. It seems that they just can’t handle being rough, nevermind when opposing teams decide to send a blitz at them. If QB Tom Brady isn’t going to have weapons, he at least to have some protection to allow his mid to low tier weapons to get open. If it’s not one, it’s got to be the other and with Antonio Brown already out of the discussion, the pass protection HAS to be better.
Alright, this game should be simple enough. The Bengals are 1-12, obviously with nothing to fight for this could end up being an absolute blowout where the offense finally finds a groove and figure out just how they’re going to go about the end of the season going into the playoffs. They desperately need not only a win, an absolute demolishing of the Bengals. Even if it’s for the confidence alone!
We saw this last year after losing the Miami Miracle and to the Pittsburgh Steelers when they played an easy schedule to end the year and they figured out they could run the ground and pound offense and it worked successfully through the playoffs. They need that kind of reset moment and this game could give them a solid shot at it before dealing with a hot Buffalo Bills who are right on their tail in the AFC East title race. This game SHOULDN’T be close, but knowing the Patriots, they’ll probably stall a little on offense and the defense gives up a couple big plays, but it’s the Bengals and they fail to put much of anything on the board.
Final Score : 30-13, New England
Photo Source : Elise Amendola / AP Photo
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