FBG says: Good matchup. The Patriots passing offense continues to struggle. This offense has now completed 55% or less of their passes in their last four games as the team seemingly is unable to find a second receiver to go along with Julian Edelman. Mohamed Sanu has been a disappointment after the Patriots acquired the receiver for a second-round pick. Sanu has just 6 receptions for 31 yards total over his last three games. N'Keal Harry has just two receptions in his three games back from IR, and Jacobi Meyers is a deep threat but has struggled with consistency. The reality is that this is an offense that is going to need to figure something out quickly and it appears that it likely will be James White who has played in 60% or more snaps in each of the last two games which he has not done since both Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead were out back in 2018.
Cincinnati's passing defense has made a fairly substantial turnaround in the second half of the season after being a unit that struggled to start the year. Since Week 9, the Bengals have not allowed a quarterback to throw for over 300 yards, and have allowed just one quarterback to throw for over 240 yards. The Bengals held Baker Mayfield to just 11 of 24 last week for 192 yards while intercepting the quarterback twice. This is by no means a perfect unit, as they are still the second-worst team in the league in yards-per-attempt, and their overall numbers look better than they should as they have faced the second-fewest attempts in the NFL this year. Their best corner could give the Patriots matchup problems this week as Darqueze Dennard out of the slot has been far and away the best corner with the Bengals struggling on the outside with B.W. Webb and William Jackson. This is a matchup that should be an efficient but low statistical game for the Patriots.