Found October 04, 2013 on
The New England Patriots (4-0) visit the Cincinnati Bengals (2-2) at 1 PM EST, this Sunday, to be shown on CBS. The two teams find themselves coming into this weekend’s matchup in two very different situations. The Pats survived Atlanta 30-23, defying expectations with their best offensive performance of the season. The Bengals on the other had are fresh off of a 17-6 loss to the Brian Hoyer-led Cleveland Browns, and find themselves at .500. The gut reaction based on that alone is to have the Pats as big favorites coming into this game, but it would be downright silly to count out the Bengals. As disappointing as Andy Dalton has been, their defense (especially the bananas front line) is imposing, and will be even more so if safety Reggie Nelson and corners Leon Hall and Dre Kirkpatrick return from their various injuries. Add in their two-back tandem of Law Firm/Gio Bernard and one of the Top 3 WRs in the NFL in AJ Green, and this will still be a hell of a ballgame.   Key Matchup: CB Aqib Talib vs. WR AJ Green A quick honorable mention should go to Logan Mankins/Ryan Wendell vs. Geno Atkins. Atkins is one of the most downright frightening defensive linemen in the league, and has been a terror against opposing defensive lines. That being said, the Pats O-line has done an awesome job in keeping Brady upright, and giving him a ton of time in the pocket. If Mankins and Wendell can neutralize Atkins (and if d-ends Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap can be contained), this game gets a whole lot easier. That being said, the key, and most watched, matchup in this game is absolutely Talib vs. Green. Green is the most targeted receiver in the NFL (tied at 51 with Cecil Shorts) and you can bet Dalton, who is playing for his job at this point, will go for him as much as possible (it’s scary to think what a better quarterback could do with Green). He’s fast, he’s strong, he’s tall, and he scores a lot. Green has slowed down of late (only 138 receiving yards combined in his last 3 games), but is way too talented to underestimate. Luckily, the Patriots have been making a habit of shutting down star receivers, and haven’t allowed a wide receiver to score since Week 1. The lion’s share of the credit for that belongs to Aqib Talib, who hopes to add Green to the list of Vincent Jackson and Julio Jones of stars that he’s neutralized (Jones’ backbreaking 4th quarter haul didn’t involve Talib). It’s been a while since New England has had a true shutdown corner, and if Talib can continue to provide that, the Patriots’ infamous pass defense woes may be over. If Talib can keep Green from making any big plays and bailing Dalton out, look for the rest of the Pats’ defense to knock out the Bengals. But if Green breaks free, look out. 3 Questions heading into the game When will this injury madness stop? Ugh. Much has been written about the loss of Vince Wilfork, and for good reason. The heart and soul of the Pats’ defense, an absolute game changer who demands a double team constantly, and a leader for a young, young team, to say New England will miss him is an understatement as big as his waistline. In his place this week the Pats will most likely start undrafted rookie, and cult hero in the making, Joe Vellano, which is a pretty good indicator of how shallow the depth is for New England at D-tackle. Don’t be surprised if the Patriots reach back out to Kyle Love or Brandon Deaderick. More bad news? Stevan Ridley is out this Sunday with a knee injury. Van Riddles had a nice game against Atlanta (11 carries, 53 yards), and it definitely hurts the Patriots to not have him. Instead the Patriots will rely on LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden. Which is….fine. But the depth at running back is also getting a little iffy. You might wonder if this is the time we see Leon Washington make an appearance, just as a change-of-pace back from the bruising Blount and Bolden. Some good news? Danny Amendola has indicated that he’s ready and willing to jump back on the field this week, which is huge. Amendola and Brady showed terrific chemistry in Week 1’s game against Buffalo, and should cure any of New England’s third down woes. Not only that, but Amendola’s presence means less attention on Julian Edelman, Kenbrell Thompkins, or Aaron Dobson. Especially if the Bengals’ injured members of the secondary don’t return in time for Sunday’s game, look for Brady to have fun with his new target.   2. Can the Pats defense get to Dalton? The Bengals offensive line is a nuisance. Their interior lineman, Kevin Zeitler, Clint Boling, and Kyle Cook are especially strong, and do a great job of opening up holes for their running backs, and providing their quarterback with enough time. The Bengals o-line, as a whole, has allowed 0 sacks and only 27 total pressures in 162 plays this season. Unfortunately, Dalton has been letting them down a bit, especially in a gruesome performance against Cleveland. Obviously, without Wilfork, expecting a huge game from the Pats’ defensive lineman may not be completely fair. But if Chandler Jones, Tommy Kelly, and Rob Ninkovich can put a few licks on Dalton, it may throw off his rhythm enough to spark up his bad habits. Look for the Belichick and the Pats to a) focus on eliminating the running game (big opportunity for Brandon Spikes to step up) and force the ball back into Dalton’s hands and b) conjure up their typical crazy blitz packages on 3rd down, and at least challenge this offensive line to keep Dalton upright.   3. How much will we miss Zach Sudfeld? Seriously. I’m very upset about this. Yes, he hadn’t collected a catch in four games. Yes he couldn’t corral a key onside kick. Yes, he wasn’t the best blocker. But you can’t just cut Rowlf! He didn’t even make it onto the practice squad, as he was claimed off waivers by the Jets. I repeat, THE NEW YORK JETS! Goodbye Zach. We’ll miss you. You can be optimistic about this and say that this is a sign of Rob Gronkowski’s imminent return. Or that Brady feels that Matthew Mulligan is a more viable receiving target, especially after last week’s nifty touchdown catch (and niftier throw, talk about threading the needle). But it’s still a sad day. RIP The Zach Sudfeld (aka Malik Sudcliffe, aka Rowlf) Era. You were over far too soon.     Prediction: Patriots 24, Bengals 14 Many pundits that are picking the Bengals for the win this Sunday keep repeating the phrase, “The Patriots are due for a loss.” Which is just plain wrong. Yes, New England may be “lucky” to be 4-0, but they’re getting better every week, especially the young receivers. Thompkins and Dobson are making more steps with Brady, Edelman has been huge, and Gronkowski and Amendola are on their way back. A few more weeks, and the Patriots could be back to their dominant offensive ways. In the meantime, I’m looking at what will start out as a close game. I think the Patriots’ offensive line is good enough to keep Atkins & Co. at bay, and that, while the pass rush may not be there, Spike sand the New England linebackers should keep Bernard/Green-Ellis from bursting out. So, as per usual, come the second half, it will all come down to the quarterback play. Brady doesn’t make many mistakes. Dalton has made quite a few.  Look for a couple forced turnovers from New England, and a nice win to go 5-0.

Report: Stevan Ridley doesn’t have a serious injury

According to,  Patriots running back Stevan Ridley sat out of Wednesday’s practice with a thigh bruise. The New England Patriots running back suffered a lower thigh bruise and was held out of practice to receive treatment, according to a source. The injury is not considered serious.   Need NFL Tickets? Loading... ZergNet The post Report: Stevan Ridley...

Stevan Ridley misses a third straight practice

According to Mike Reiss of ESPN,  Patriots running back Stevan Ridley missed his third straight day of practice on Friday and likely won’t play this Sunday against the Bengals. RB Stevan Ridley not spotted at practice for third straight day. Puts availability for Sunday in doubt. — Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) October 4, 2013 It sounds like LaGarrette Blount could end up getting...

Stevan Ridley Missing From Patriots Practice for Second Straight Day

The Patriots’ starting running back was missing for the second straight day. Stevan Ridley was not at practice on Thursday morning, according to multiple reports. He was absent during Wednesday morning’s session, as well. Ridley was listed on the team’s injury report with a knee injury. Ridley’s injury was not expected to be serious. It was described as more of a lower thigh...

Stevan Ridley Not Practicing Friday

Patriots running back Stevan Ridley (thigh) didn't practice Friday, his third straight day missedFantasy Spin:Ridley has been a disaster for fantasy owners this season and this injury isn't helping anything. He's likely to miss Sunday's game as coach Bill Belichick usually doesn't play guys who don't practice. The value of LeGarrette Blount should be on the rise.

Stevan Ridley Misses Second Straight Practice

Though reports yesterday indicated that Stevan Ridley was held out of practice due to non-serious bruised thigh injury to get medical treatment, the Patriots starting running back was not seen at the start of practice for the second straight day. Ridley was again the only surprise absentee from practice as neither Matthew Slater or Vince Wilfork were seen today either. ...

Stevan Ridley missed Wednesday's practice due to a thigh bruise

The mystery of Stevan Ridley's absence from Wednesday's practice appears to be solved. The New England Patriots running back suffered a lower thigh bruise and was held out of practice to receive treatment according to a source. The injury is not considered serious. Ridley had 11 carries for 53 yards against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday night and received his last carry with...

Stevan Ridley Missing From Practice for Third Straight Day, Putting Status for Sunday in Doubt

FOXBORO, Mass. – LeGarrette Blount may get a fair share on carries on Sunday afternoon. Stevan Ridley was missing for the third straight day at practice on Friday morning. He has been listed on the injury with a knee injury. Brandon Bolden was spotted limping in the Patriots’ locker room on Thursday. He has also been listed with knee injury on the injury report. Matthew...

Stevan Ridley Misses Practice Thursday

Patriots halfback Stevan Ridley (thigh) didn't practice Thursday.Fantasy Spin:Ridley has been the biggest fantasy bust this side of C.J. Spiller. Even if Ridley plays Sunday against Cincinnati, he is in a full-blown timeshare with LeGarette Blount on early downs and sits in passing situations in favor of Brandon Bolden.

Stevan Ridley Out for Sunday

Stevan Ridley missed practice for the entire week with a knee injury. Now, the Patriots starting running back will not be playing in the game on Sunday against the Bengals as the team has officially ruled him as out. The news comes from Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. The news is not that surprising due to the fact that Ridley didn't even practice in a limited capacity...

Stevan Ridley Will Miss Week 5

Patriots running back Stevan Ridley (thigh) didn't practice Friday, his third straight day on the sidelines and will miss the Week 5 game with Cincinnati.Fantasy Spin:Ridley has been a disaster for fantasy owners this season and this injury isn't helping anything. The value of LeGarrette Blount should take a big jump upward as Brandon Bolden is also hurting.

Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski will not play Sunday

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski did not travel with the team to Cincinnati and will not play Sunday against the Bengals, reports ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Gronkowski was officially listed as questionable Friday, and is still recovering from back and forearm 

Injury report: Ridley to miss first game of career

BY DAN BEGNOCHEAfter 36 straight games, New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley's streak is over.A slew of other pertinent players could also end up joining Ridley on the sidelines Sunday, as the Pats currently have another 10 listed as questionable on the injury report. The two consistent question marks have been tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Danny Amendola...

New England Patriots Game Preview

The New England Patriots travel to Paul Brown Stadium today to take on the Cincinnati Bengals.  The Patriots enter the game with a mark of four wins and no loses. Cincinnati comes in and an even two wins and two defeats.    The Patriots are in the middle of a tough three game stretch that had them travel to to Atlanta last week and finish up with the Saints at home next week. ...

Patriots-Bengals Live: Stevan Ridley’s Absence Increases New England’s Need for Danny Amendola to Return

8 a.m. ET: It didn’t really seem possible, but the Patriots will be down another offensive starter on Sunday. With Stevan Ridley already ruled out against the Bengals, now would be the perfect time for Danny Amendola to make his triumphant return. Amendola traveled with the team to Cincinnati, but he was listed as questionable on the injury report with a groin injury. Amendola...

Prediction: New England’s Week 5 matchup vs. Cincinnati | New England Patriots

Prediction: New England’s Week 5 matchup vs. Cincinnati | New England Patriots: My final prediction over at cover32:  For the first time since 2007, the New England Patriots will enter Week 5 with a perfect 4-0 record—but will they leave the week still undefeated? If New England does prevail in a victory over the Cincinanti Bengals, then it could perhaps be thanks to the turn...
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