Originally written on Pats 360  |  Last updated 11/20/14
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 of some familiar faces. Stevan Ridley and Rob Gronkowski out and Danny Amendola possibly in? It’s official that running back Stevan Ridley and tight end Rob Gronkowski will not be playing in Sunday’s game against the Bengals as both have been ruled out. As for wide receiver Danny Amendola: Amendola did travel with the team to Cincinnati and according to multiple reports, the team is very optimistic that he will play against the Bengals. If Amendola does play, I wouldn’t expect much out of him—perhaps a few targets as I’d expect him to be rather limited. However, the likely return of Amendola to the lineup does add some much needed depth to New England’s wide receiver corps. Aqib Talib’s agenda : Julio Joes: Conquered. Mission: A.J. Green   Aqib Talib is making a very strong case that he’s the top cornerback in the NFL. This past week against the Atlanta Falcons, Talib held arguably the NFL’s most dangerous receiver, Julio Jones, to just six receptions on a total of 13 targets. Entering Week 5, A.J. Green has recorded 25 receptions for 300 yards and three touchdowns. He is certainly one of the league’s top receivers and he’s the next challenge that awaits Talib. Will Talib shut him down? I think that we’ve learned by now to never bet against Talib. He’s a man on a mission to earn himself quite a giant paycheck this offseason. Andy Dalton has yet to play at a high level in 2013 It’s safe to say that quarterback Andy Dalton is the weakest link on Cincinnati’s 2-2 football team. Heading into Week 5, Dalton has posted a 83.3 quarterback rating while tossing five touchdowns compared to four interceptions. The talent surrounding Dalton is there, it’s just a matter of Dalton playing at a high level—which clearly has not been the case for the mediocre Bengals in 2013. Final prediction: New England: 31 Cincinnati: 20 This past week against Atlanta, I was leaning very heavily to picking the Falcons over New England—but I’ve learned my lesson. The Patriots might be winning games in a rather ugly fashion, but you still have to consider them an elite team in the AFC. By no means am I picking against the Patriots this week.

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