Week 5 at Cincinnati Bengals:
Back-to-back road games against 2012 playoff teams are never easy, and the Bengals see themselves at the finally getting past Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the AFC North this season. With quarterback Andy Dalton, wide receiver AJ Green, and future star running back Giovani Bernard, the offense should be solid behind their stout offensive line. Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins is the best down lineman in the NFL right now, and Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly, and Logan Mankins need to bring their A game. Bill Belichick does not often lose two games in a row, even in these difficult circumstances. Coming off a blowout loss, expect the Patriots to bring extra motivation. This could be a classic grinder like the beginning of the decade Patriots squads seemed to tough out each week.
Prediction: Patriots 19 – Cincinnati 18 Record: 4-1.
Week 6 vs. New Orleans Saints:
Atlanta, Cincinnati and New Orleans makes for a tough early season test for the New England Patriots. Fortunately, the Patriots are back at Foxboro, MA as they take on Drew Brees and the high octane New Orleans Saints. The Saints, as always, should prove to be a handful on offense, although their defensive play is up in the air. On offense, New Orleans has a dynamic tight end in Jimmy Graham who could give the Patriots linebackers a headache that lasts a full 60 minutes. After a tough road win against Cincinnati, expect a bit of a letdown against the Saints.
Prediction: Patriots 31 – New Orleans 34 Record: 4-2.