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Sunday Night Football Open Thread: Bengals v. Patriots

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Tonight the Cincinnati Bengals take on the New England Patriots in Foxborough. Talk Sunday Night Football on Battle Red Blog in this open thread.

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The undefeated Bengals are coming out of their Week 4 bye week with plenty of time to prepare for the 2-2 Patriots.  This game could be an early view into the changing of power within the AFC, as New England has struggled mightily this season.  They were dismantled by the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football in a 42-14 shellacking; right or wrong, that has a lot of people wondering if the Tom Brady era is coming to a close.

USA Today reports:

The New England Patriots are not a good football team. For fans expecting Bill Belichick and Tom Brady to pull a redux of 2012, when the team also started 2-2, leading to whispers that the dynasty might be crumbling, then rallied for an improbable 12-4 season that ended a tipped pass from the Super Bowl — don’t kid yourselves. This is easily the worst Patriots team of the Brady-Belichick era.

Meanwhile, the Bengals are riding high with what could be the best defense in the NFL.  If they want to dominate the AFC, they'll need quarterback Andy Dalton to stay clean and produce every week.  So far, Dalton hasn't been sacked this season and has only thrown one interception.  He has thrown for 722 yards in three games, with a completion percentage of 65.5%.  He only has two passing touchdowns, as Cincinnati has relied heavily on the running game in the red zone, but Andy also has a receiving touchdown from a trick play in a 33-7 blowout of the the Titans.

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