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Marvin Lewis knows these Bengals won't fold like 2006 team did

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This Bengals team is better equipped to avoid collapsing like the '06 team did.

Andy Lyons

The Bengals are 3-0 and heading into a matchup with the New England Patriots.

Sound familiar?

That's the same scenario the 2006 Bengals faced, only those 3-0 Bengals were hosting a 2-1 Patriots squad averaging just 17 points per game.

New England proceeded to blow out Cincinnati, 38-13. The Bengals went on to finish 8-8, losing three-straight games to end the season. Had they won just one of those games, the Bengals would have clinched a playoff berth.

Marvin Lewis was the head coach then, and he's the head coach now. He knows this team is different, and they won't allow what happened in '06 to happen in 2014.

"It’s a different group," Lewis said. "That (’06) group had made the playoffs for the first time in a long time the year before — first time in their careers ever making the playoffs. This is a different football team. This team knows the task at hand. When we got started, we knew where we needed to go each and every week."

One benefit this team has over the '06 team is balance. The defense looks as good as it's ever been, while the offense is slowly improving to the point where they could be a top 10 unit by season's end.

There's been little reason to doubt they'll at least do that.