Note: If you’re
looking for the 2013 Week Six matchup between these teams, please go here:
England Patriots vs. Cincinnati Bengals Pick.
Cincinnati Bengals (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. New England Patriots (0-0
SU, 0-0 ATS), 1:00 p.m. EST, Week 1 NFL, Sunday, September 12, 2010,
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass., TV: CBS
by Badger of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Bengals +5.5/Patriots -5.5
Two teams from the National Football League that seem to have completely opposite management philosophies meet in Gillette Stadium
in Foxborough Sunday for week one NFL action when the Cincinnati
Bengals travel to play the New England Patriots.
Cincinnati, a surprise playoff team from the AFC North last season, uses the philosophy of anything to win. Theyve become the Oakland
Raiders of the Midwest in the 2000s, since theyve employed all sorts
of questionable characters and malcontents from other teams in the
league over the years.
Last year the Bengals struck gold with one of their reclamation projects, using running back Cedric Benson to get back into a run-
first mentality and thus back into the playoffs. This off-season the
Bengals brought in the biggest malcontent in the league receiver
Terrell Owens (as well as character guys Matt Jones and Pacman
Jones). Owens has been a good soldier through the preseason so far,
but Ill put the over/under on week six before Owens and Chad
Ochocinco start dividing the locker room in Cincy.
Meanwhile in New England, no player is bigger than the team since
Patriots coach Bill Belichick has run talented players off the squad
for not having the proper team-first approach. The Patriots have
been quiet all off-season, and while many teams in the AFC have gone
for the glam-n-glitz to try and get better (i.e. Cincy), the Patriots
have flown under the radar without all of the preseason hype theyve
had in years past.
So 2010 will be another year where we find out which philosophy works better, and well get the first test on Sunday when the two styles
meet head-to-head on the field at Gillette.
According to the people setting the betting odds in Las Vegas and
offshore, the Patriots are listed anywhere from 4.5- to 5.5-point
favorites at home in the opener, depending on where you wager. That
number is down from where it opened at 6 points.
A few offshore sportsbooks are still offering an over/under total of
44 too, even though a large majority of books are in agreement at
44.5 as the total and the number could go up more before game time.
When breaking this game down from an offensive perspective, its
actually the mighty Patriots that have more questions.
For the Patriots there are two givens, quarterback Tom Brady and
receiver Randy Moss, but after that you have a bunch of what ifs to
answer. Is Wes Welkers knee really healthy enough for all 16 games?
Do the Pats actually have too many good running backs (Sammy Morris,
Fred Taylor, Laurence Maroney, Kevin Faulk) but not a great one? Can
the offensive line that was once All-Pro laden, that now suddenly
finds itself aging quickly, keep Bradys uniform clean?
If the preseason is an indication, then the Pats offense seems to be
status quo as they have put up 30 points per game in three games.
Brady also seems to have found a new weapon in rookie tight end Rob
Gronkowski (3 TD in preseason), but otherwise theres not a lot of
new blood pumping through the Patriots huddle these days so its
still as far as Brady goes, so goes New England.
Cincinnati on the other hand returns its offensive line essentially
intact, has a 20- to 25-carry a game running back in Benson and two
new weapons for QB Carson Palmer on the perimeter in Owens and rookie
tight end Jermaine Gresham. With all of that continuity inside, along
with Owens and Ochocinco outside, the Bengals could pose major
matchup problems for defenses all season long starting with the
opener against the Pats.
Unlike the Pats the Bengals really only have one question regarding their offense, and its a big one, but at some point it may all
implode on itself when theres not enough touches to keep everyone
content, which wont happen in week one but it may come sooner than
Defensively this game is sort of a wash because both head coaches
(Belichick and Marvin Lewis) are former defensive coordinators who
will likely have their units prepared for everything. It then becomes
a matter of execution and talent level, and that too seems to be a
wash, but the Bengals have played better in the preseason for what
One area where Cincy also has the edge is at linebacker, since the
three-pack of Rey Maualuga, Dhani Jones and Keith Rivers is one of
the fastest LB crews in the league. Dont be surprised to see
Belichick use a hurry-up or 4-WR spread offense at times during the
game to keep a few of those linebackers off the field by forcing
nickel or dime situations.
The last time these two teams met (in 2007), Brady was still playing
his way toward stardom (231 yards, 3 TD) and the Pats defense forced
two Palmer interceptions in a lopsided 34-13 win in Cincinnati. The
Pats also held Cincy to a mere 57 yards rushing in that game,
something Im positive the Bengals will improve on in this game Sunday.
Gamblers cashed in on the gravy train that was New England back in
that game in 2007, as the Pats easily covered as 7.5-point favorites
on the road. The combined total of 47 fell in well under the closing
total of 54 on the board, cashing in the under wager for those folks.
Although, the under was also a very good bet for both of these teams
last year (Cinn. 7-9 O/U, NE 5-10-1), so you could make a case for a
betting trend if youre reaching.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Spread: Im leaning toward a Pats win and cover here, but Im
not completely sold on it so I may pass on the side bet. The reason
being Im not sold the Pats can stop the Bengals either, so Im
looking at a 31-21 or 34-24 shootout that falls over the total. Take
the over of 44.5.