New England Patriots vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Five Key Matchups

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Sep 29, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on the sidelines against the Kansas City Chiefs in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City won 41-14. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

5. Bill Belichick vs. Marvin Lewis

As crazy as it seems, Bill Belichick was abused in the coaching department last week. Andy Reid made arguably the best coach in NFL history look like an utter fool on Monday night. Belichick’s defense looked completely overmatched with the schemes the Chiefs were running, and the offense just couldn’t do anything productive from start to finish.

If the Patriots want to get back to their winning ways, it has to start from the top. Belichick needs to get his players ready to go out there and compete, and he needs to get them in the correct schemes. Executing is obviously more important in terms of winning football games, but not being in the best schemes makes it a hell of a lot harder for New England.

As I already mentioned, the Pats’ defense needs to play aggressive man coverage from here on out, especially with Brandon Browner back in the fold. This defense is extremely talented, and if they get back to winning the individual 1-on-1 matchups, and play aggressive, they could easily be a top-3 unit in this league.

Offensively, it all comes down to the running game. The Pats can’t come out in the shotgun and try to air it out. They must bring out heavy packages, and pound the ball down Cincinnati’s throat. If it takes six offensive lineman to do this, then so be it.

Whatever it takes to get the running game going, because that is going to be the deciding factor in who wins this game.