FBG says: Bad matchup. The Bengals will once again start Andy Dalton after they seemingly have abandoned the Ryan Finley experiment. Dalton has kept the Bengals in both of the games since coming back from the benching as he played a key role in beating the Jets and lost a close game to the Browns last week. Dalton provides more stability to the Bengals making them more competitive. The Bengals did suffer a tough injury this week as Auden Tate was placed on IR and with no signs of A.J. Green coming back this season will make the options for this offense limited outside of Tyler Boyd and John Ross who returned last week but saw just 51% of the snaps.
The recent struggles from the Patriots can not be blamed on their pass defense which continues to be the best in the NFL this season. This is a unit that has not allowed a 300-yard passer on the year and has allowed just two quarterbacks to top 250 yards one of which was garbage time production from Ben Roethlisberger back in Week One. This is a unit that over the last two weeks has been vulnerable to speed receivers as Mecole Hardman and Kenny Stills both have caught touchdowns in back-to-back weeks against the Patriots and a big reason for this has to do with Jason McCourty's injury. McCourty who was active played just four snaps last week and has been a limited participant this week. If he is unable to go, the Patriots could be vulnerable to John Ross on a deep play as they rely on McCourty to match up with the fastest receiver. If McCourty is unable to go, it will be J.C. Jackson who has been up and down this year in his second season in the NFL. Overall, outside of a deep throw to Ross, it will be difficult to see the Bengals consistently move the ball against this defense this week.