The Bengals are catching the Patriots at the wrong time
When you are 1-12 like the Cincinnati Bengals are, there is really a never a good time to play a ten win team like the Patriots, but Sunday is even worse timing than normal for the guys in stripes.
Even under normal circumstances, the Bengals would face a tall order in trying to upset the Patriots tomorrow. In fact, beating any team has been a challenge for the Bengals this year. But these are not normal circumstances. Here is why.
This game is critical for New England’s playoff positioning
If you are a Bengals fan still rooting for wins, you were probably hoping the Patriots had a firm grip on at least a first round playoff bye heading into this one. When this is the case, we’ve seen bad Miami teams catch the Pats somewhat napping late in the season more than once over the years.
However, the Patriots have lost two in a row in December, which almost never happens. Moreover, they need this game to ensure staying ahead of Kansas City for control of the last first round bye. New England has never reached the Super Bowl without the benefit of a first round bye. Rest assured, Bill Belichick knows that and will not allow his team to overlook the lowly Bengals.
The latest Pats scandal
Wherever you fall on New England’s various scandals dating back to the mid 2000s, there is no denying that it motivates the entire organization. When Spygate happened, they broke nearly every offensive record, had a perfect regular season, and missed winning the Super Bowl by the width of David Tyree’s helmet. When Tom Brady was suspended for Deflategate, they won three of four games without him, and eventually another Super Bowl.
The hapless Bengals now find themselves unwillingly at the center of another New England videotaping controversy. Right or wrong, the Patriots want to humiliate the Bengals, not just beat them. When they want to humiliate someone, they almost always do.
Anything can happen in a given week in the NFL, but everyone should fully expect New England to try and burn the scoreboard out. The only good news for the Bengals is that their “plan” to ask LSU’s Joe Burrow to save the franchise will remain on course, should they choose to exacute it.