I have reason to believe the Bengals are going to be competitive. Perhaps I'm the epitome of homerism. Perhaps my vision of jaded success is blanking realistic expectations. Most Bengals fans are acting like they're walking on broken glass. Some "I don't knows" and a few sighs is the quick synopsis of a general consensus that the Patriots will be too over powering. And there's reason to believe that.
The Bengals defense is 30th in total yards allowed -- 25th against the pass, 27th against the rush. The New England offense is ranked first in total offensive output -- ranked 3rd passing offense and 5th rushing offense. This game will be decided between the Bengals defense and the Patriots offense -- with an eye worrying about the total self-destruction of the Bengals special teams.
But that doesn't explain the obvious Any Given Sunday variable. Who would have thought the Cardinals had a chance against the Steelers? Or the Falcons winning their first game over the Texans. The Browns smoking the Ravens by 18 points in the first half. The Lions being 3-1 taking out the NFC Champs scoring 34 points in the fourth quarter -- good grief. The Chiefs handing the Chargers their third loss in four games.
Hey, upsets happen.
That's why we hold out hope for our favorite teams. Who would have thought the Colorado Rockies would fight for the National League Wild Card on game #163? Or that the Mets would be out of the playoffs finishing with an 88-74 record after leading the National League East by seven games on September 12. Over the weekend, college football saw No 3. Oklahoma, No. 5 West Virginia, No 4. Florida, No. 7 Texas and No. 10 Rutgers fall to heavy underdogs. USC's sloppiness over Washington turned the usual cool SC cats into nervous Woody Allens.
The Davids of the world are what breaths life into the sports culture.
We could talk until we're blue in the face on stats, rankings and injuries; why such-and-such won't have that much an impact. It comes down to the game being played at the pace the victors determine. Keys to winning will be irrelevant and historical charts are thrown out the window. With the round of upsets we experienced over the weekend, why can't the Bengals be next?
They could. Hey, it happens. The Bengals need it to happen.
Patriots very complimentary of the Bengals
Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick and Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, were very complimentary of the Bengals offense and, surprisingly, the defense, this week.
Bill Belichick: "It seems no matter who they put out there, they score. They use a lot of different people in their receiver combinations. When Rudi missed most of the second half last week against Seattle, [Kenny] Watson ran the ball well. He was very productive. It almost doesn't seem to matter who is out there. If that ball is moving down the field, it's usually moving pretty fast."
On the Bengals defense
Tom Brady: "Yeah, they have great speed [defensively] and I think the entire scheme is set up to force offenses into bad plays. They have a bunch of players who take advantage of that - Deltha O'Neal, he has a bunch of picks off of me."
Bill Belichick: "Defensively, this is a turnover-driven team," Belichick continued. "Cincinnati has been at the top of the league in turnovers the last few years. They're up there again. They're very conscious of getting the ball out one way or another, whether it be by scheme or by technique or by the style of play that their players use."
Crap, crap, crap
No, that's not my expected reaction tonight. That will include much more colorful phrases that have no place here. No. This has everything to do with getting crapped on. Literally.
We're talking clay pigeons that do not need pulleys. And yes, someone already referred to Chris Henry having something to do while waiting out his suspension. So pigeons on crapping all over Paul Brown stadium and the operators of the stadium wanted to go John Wayne.
Talk about employee benefits.
Then all hell broke lose. Animal rights communities did what they do best. Annoy. And while Cincinnati has found little solutions for crime problems and the suffocating prison conditions, they've actually had an ordnance over 30 years old that reads:
No person shall kill, wound, maim or injure, in any manner whatever, any bird, or shall throw, fire or shoot with any gun, pistol or other deadly weapon, or any stone, arrow, or other missile, at such bird, or shall break, tear down, or destroy any bird's nest or the eggs or other contents of such nests; nor shall any person catch or capture any bird in any manner whatever, or set traps, or spread nets or snares, with intent to catch or capture any bird, or follow or pursue any bird with intent to catch or injure such bird (except tame birds actually in possession of, or owned by any person).
Nothing is going to happen and alternative ways to eliminate the birds annoying pooping habits will be sought. Now Henry has nothing to do.
Speaking of downtown, the Bengals, the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, Duke Energy and Downtown Cincinnati Inc. are joining forces to "Light Up Cincinnati." No, Henry doesn't suddenly have something to do. This is an effort to light up the city during the game. Unlike the first Monday Night game in years in 2005, even Great American Ballpark will even light up -- remember when they didn't in 2005? For being a smaller metropolitan, Cincinnati's skyline is still an incredible sight.
Cincinnati residents came away impressed with Seattle.