Thursday night certainly wasn’t the start we were looking for, fresh off of a stellar Week 5. The Broncos just didn’t have it, and it looks like the Chargers are far from done. That defense in San Diego is mightily improved and they’ll likely be hanging around playing meaningful games well into December.
For our first featured match-up on the Sunday slate, we’ve got an AFC treat for you as the 2-3 Bengals travel to New England to take on the Patriots. New England stomped the Browns last week in Tom Brady’s first game back from suspension. Brady looked pretty solid, but so could I if facing the Browns. This week he’ll get a much stiffer test from what’s likely going to be a pretty angry Bengals ground. Cincinnati hasn’t gotten off to the start they would’ve hoped for, and this is a better football team than their record would indicate. Last week the Bengals got destroyed by Dak Prescott and the Cowboys, and they know if they don’t start stringing some wins together, the playoffs might slip away sooner rather than later.
This is a big Week 6 match-up between a Patriots team always ready to assert their dominance, and a Bengals squad looking to make a point that they’re of the same calibre. Read on below for a full game breakdown, analysis, and an official betting selection for Cincinnati and New England.
Bengals vs. Patriots Betting Odds:
Cincinnati Bengals +9 (-110)
@ New England Patriots -9 (-110)
Over 48 (-110)
Under 48 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Bengals vs. Patriots Pick:
This line started out way too high, and remains a tad too high for my liking. Though some sportsbooks have dropped the spread to around 7.5, our friends at Bovada have it hanging at 9 as of Sunday morning.
In this contest, Tom Brady and the Pats are going to get theirs on offense. There aren’t many defensive units right now that can stop New England – that’s just the unfortunate reality. Cincinnati’s defense has regressed in recent seasons, and they’ll certainly have their hands full come Sunday. The Bengals have been especially poor in the secondary, but that does have a possibility of changing on Sunday – if Cincinnati can generate some pressure on Brady.
This is an area where I think the game can change. The Bengals have a formidable duo of pass rushers in Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap. Together they form one of the top tandems at getting to opposing QB’s in football. It is no secret that New England boasts a pretty poor and inexperienced offensive line, so look for both Atkins and Dunlap to be all over Tom Brady on Sunday. Look for this to cause disruption with Brady’s rhythm and timing, and this should limit the effectiveness of the offense on Sunday.
Conversely, the Bengals do boast a pretty solid pass rush and going against the Pats – this should not change. New England certainly does not possess anybody like Dunlap or Atkins, and this should allow quarterback Andy Dalton all kinds of time and space in the pocket. This of course will allow him to target A.J. Green with regularity, a match-up problem for even the best of secondaries.
On the ground, look for a steady dose of Giovani Bernard out of the backfield, as it is believed that Jeremy Hill is dealing with a nagging injury. Looking back to the earlier weeks, the Patriots haven’t handled these pass-catching backs well at all. It wreaks havoc on their linebackers especially, and they’ve been poor at limiting their yardage. Bernard is in for a big game come Sunday.
Look for the Bengals to establish the line of scrimmage from the get-go on Sunday. This is a better team than they’ve shown so far in 2016, and you can bet they’ll want to get back on track after last week’s dismal outing in Dallas. Cincinnati has the pieces required to limit New England, and look for them to keep things close throughout the contest. And just as a note, even though Bovada still lists this as a 9-point spread, I’d also be on the Bengals at 7.5-points too!
PICK = Bengals +9 (-110)