New England Patriots: 1 compelling bold prediction vs Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throws in the first quarter during a Week 15 NFL game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.Nfl Cincinnati Bengals At Tampa Bay Buccaneers Dec 18 1996
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throws in the first quarter during a Week 15 NFL game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.Nfl Cincinnati Bengals At Tampa Bay Buccaneers Dec 18 1996 /

The New England Patriots face a decisive game in 2022 as they face the Cincinnati Bengals Saturday at Gillette Stadium in a game that may very well determine their playoff aspirations this season.

The Patriots sit at 7-7 on the season. They need to win one or more likely two of their final three games to make the playoffs. The Bengals, the loser of last season’s Super Bowl to the LA Rams, are at 10-4 a mere one game ahead of the Baltimore Ravens.

This is a serious game for the Bengals. They need this win and will bring their A-game to Foxborough. They’ll face a mediocre Patriots team that literally threw (or more correctly lateraled) away their last game at Las Vegas in a last-play comedy of errors.

The Bengals need this win to keep their top spot in the AFC North. The Patriots need a win to keep any playoff hopes alive. It should be a lively one.

New England Patriots have a very tough opponent in the Bengals

Joe Burrow quarterbacks the Bengals. Burrow has justified his first overall selection in the 2020 NFL draft. He’s one of the best in the NFL with the stats to back that up.

In 14 games, he’s completed 68.2 percent of his passes to go along with 3,885 yards with 31 TDs and 10 INTs. The TD-to-INT ratio is key.

Ja’Marr Chase is his top receiver with 71 catches, 8 TDs, and 881 yards. Another is Tee Higgins with 65 catches, 894 yards, and six TDs. Tyler Boyd is another talented receiver for the Bengals.

The wide receivers are complemented by tight end Hayden Hurst with 48 catches, 2 TDs, and 400 yards. They’re built to score in bunches and they have. They are third in the league in scoring with 44 TDs.

Conversely, in his 11 games, Patriots quarterback Mac Jones has a completion percentage of 65.8. He’s thrown for 2,310 yards and only seven TDs with eight INTs. The Patriots’ offense is 23rd in the league in scoring with only 28 offensive TDs.

New England Patriots hopes rest on their defense

After laughingly snatching defeat last Sunday from the jaws of at least a tie, the Patriots need to win Sunday to keep their playoff hopes alive. Unexpectedly, the Patriots’ defense has been its strength this season.

Led by Matt Judon and the emerging Josh Uche sack duo, they are doing what they couldn’t all that much in 2021, putting opposing quarterbacks on the ground. Forget hurries etc., it’s all about sacks. They may have an opportunity again Sunday and it could be critical.

Burrow has been sacked 37 times in his 14 games. If Judon and Uche can sack him a few times, the Patriots’ fortunes will be enhanced. If not, Burrow and his lethal receiving corps will rip them to shreds.

The Pats defensive line should be an asset. Christian Barmore is back and he’s their best. Unfortunately, the team persists in playing him in a gap, when he is clearly much more effective on the nose. Justifying a poor free agency dollar dump on average defensive tackle Davon Godchaux is no reason to keep making the same error on defense with Barmore.

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It would make too much sense to see Barmore collapsing the pocket and Burrow heading for either Judon’s or Uche’s side of the field. It’s a nice scenario. The Pats just don’t seem to recognize it. For whatever reason, don’t expect to see it much, if at all.

New England Patriots offense is languishing

On offense, the New England Patriots haven’t shown up this season. It’s been atrocious. The offensive coaching is suspect. The offensive line has been inconsistent, and Mac Jones regression has also been a major drawback. Jones has struggled not only to throw TD passes but to get the team in the end zone at all.

The Pats’ strength is their running backs, especially dynamic Rhamondre Stevenson who should be a Pro-Bowler. Yet he can’t be expected to carry the entire load.

The Patriots inability to score TDs rather than field goals has all but ruined their season. Their lethargic offense is a shade of its past glory. That’s what this prediction will be predicated upon.

Next. New England Patriots are slipping inexorably into mediocrity. dark

The Bengals were in the Super Bowl last season and are a threat to be there again. The Patriots were a shoestring playoff team in 2022. They were one-and-done, after being blown out by the Buffalo Bills and they’ve regressed. The two teams are headed in different directions.

Having predicted a Raiders win last week, it’s tough to pick against our home team again. But it is what it is. And that is a very tough matchup for the Patriots Sunday.

The prediction is Bengals 37 and New England 13 and the game may not be that close. What’s your prediction for Sunday’s game?