Will The Bengals Break The Patriots For Good This Weekend?
The NFL world is going apeshit over the Patriots this week, after Belichick and Brady and company were stomped out by the Chiefs on Monday Night Football. The loss was so bad, and their Hall of Fame quarterback looked so "scared to death" in the pocket, that people were actually writing articles about whether there's a QB controversy in New England.
Of course, these articles were solely written to generate clicks, as no one actually thinks rookie Jimmy Garoppolo is a better quarterback than Tom Brady -- and no one thinks he can do more with such a paltry offensive line and set of receivers.
That being said, if losing to a team that went 11-5 last year, in that team's stadium, with that team's record-breakingly-loud fans screaming their heads off, in Week 4, is enough to send people scrambling to leap off the Patriots' bandwagon, imagine what could happen this weekend when the Pats are home against the Bengals.
Think about it like this: If the Chiefs, whose defense is ranked 19th by Football Outsiders, were able to sack Brady three times and force three turnovers, imagine what the Bengals -- ranked first overall in defensive DVOA -- can do? The Bengals are particularly are adapt in defending the pass, which is where the Patriots are utterly failing this season. Even Brady is suffering:
— Cecil Lammey (@cecillammey) September 30, 2014
And E.J. Manuel has been benched for Kyle Orton.
A loss at home, even to a good team like the Bengals, could be enough to send the Patriots into a tailspin. They'd be 2-3 in a laughably easy division, but firmly outside the realm of true contention in the AFC. And if the Bills or Jets or even Dolphins (2-2, 1-3 and 2-2, respectively) can right things (and the Jets, for example, are just a quarterback switch away from becoming decent again), Brady will be on the outside looking in at the playoff picture for the first time in, well, forever.
This is the most excited non-Pats should be about watching a Pats game in years. The Bengals chasing Brady out of the pocket and into their waiting arms is something guys like Charles Barkley have been waiting for. Week 5 is too early to say anything definitive, but I can't help but think about this as Sunday afternoon approaches.
Photo via Getty
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