The Cincinnati Bengals take on a New England Patriots team who have lost two straight but have an organization built to win and compete season in, and season out.
Pick a gate: SpyGate, DeflateGate, SpyGate II. It’s how they do business in New England, but on Sunday, fans who focus on the latest controversy involving videotape and Patriots will miss the bigger picture. The Cincinnati Bengals are at a monstrous disadvantage not because of a rogue video crew, but because the Pats get it right on the football field.
The Patriots enter Week 15 on a rare two-game losing streak. The passing game isn’t nearly as robust or productive as in years past, and the gaping hole left by Rob Gronkowski grows each week. They look very mortal in the AFC, and if not for a weak division, the playoffs might not be a lock in 2019. All that said, they are still light years better than the Bengals.
Cincinnati enters Sunday with one win. The return of Andy Dalton is now 1-1, and 1-2 looks all too likely after Week 15.
Could the Bengals find enough to shock the Patriots? They could. If there was ever a time where a defending champion from New England looked beatable, it’s Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. However, the Patriot Way isn’t likely to allow a third straight loss. Especially against the question marks presented by the Bengals Way.
The bottom line, the talent on the field is where the bulk of this matchup will be decided, especially at the quarterback position. A struggling Tom Brady is still better than Dalton. If it ends up a battle of wits where the head coaches are a deciding factor, Bill Belichick versus Zac Taylor is no contest. To be blunt. Even the most “garden-variety” of Patriot teams are better than what the Bengals have. Therein lies the problem.
Week 15 will render a likely decision. In 2020, the Cincinnati Bengals have an opportunity to get it right and turn the page via a draft that could make them better. For fans who want to get bogged down in the minutiae of videotape, do so. But to ignore the excellence of an organization who gets it done season-in and season-out, losing must feel very good.