One of these teams is not like the other. The Bengals have lost their last 4 games against the Patriots and the last time they did win, was 2001. The Patriots were considered a dynasty for some time after consistently reaching and winning the Super Bowl between 2001 and 2004. The Bengals are pretty darn excited to make it back to the wild card game a couple years in a row.
The tide may be turning, the Patriots are not as feared as they have been in the past and the Bengals are becoming a team on the rise. This Sunday's game could go a long way in shifting the power for these two franchises.
Marvin Lewis Vs. Bill Belichick
When looking for some small piece of information to separate the two longest tenured head coaches in the NFL, I turned to the sports blog deadspin who last December had a head to head matchup between Marvin Lewis and Bill Belichick.
The flag toss:
It takes a lot of courage for a guy to know when he doesn't have the arm to compete with the pro's. Marvin doesn't attempt to try and show up his QB so he gently places the flag on the turn like he is dropping a large donation into the salvation army bucket. Clearly he is a respectful and charitable man.
Belichick on the other hand winds up like he is going to throw the flag to the moon and the end result is about a 6 yd incompletion.
Clearly Marvin has the Edge.
Tom Brady Vs. Andy Dalton
On the surface there is very little that distinguishes these two quarterbacks from each other. Brady is a good looking man who is married to one of the hottest women on the planet. He has multiple Super Bowl rings and several MVP awards. His NFL resume after being a 6th round draft pick is quite impressive.
Andy Dalton is a guy whose arm is constantly questioned and has red hair.....
So I dig deeper to find the real differences.
I look to the combine, here we have Andy Dalton's combine photo:
Vs Tom Brady's combine photo.
Clearly Andy Dalton is far superior. If talent and heart could be measured by one picture alone Andy Dalton has the Lions share while Brady is a scared little guy.
A.J. Green Vs any number of undrafted or injury prone "scrappy" wide receivers
This is the game where A.J. Green is probably better than any two wide receivers on the field. The limp armed Belichick prides himself on finding the undrafted or late round gem that he can manipulate into looking like a star for his team. He feels it further cements his genius. I feel it showcases Brady's talent for finding the open guy.
Edge A.J. Green
Jermaine Gresham / Tyler Eifert Vs.
Aaron Hernandez Rob Gronkowski Michael Hoomanawanui
Not since TJ Houshmandzadeh have I seen the play by play guys yuk it more than when they try and pronounce Patriots tight end Michael Hoomanawanui's name. The Patriots are obviously hurting at the position when the guy they run out only has 8 receptions in the last 2 years.
In all seriousness this is going to be a challenge for the Bengals. They are facing an undefeated Patriots team that is going to test the metal for the Bengals. It will go a long way in changing the feelings of the team if they are able to take one from the Patriots.