NFL Week 16: Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots Game Preview

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Two teams heading in opposite directions will square off in New England this Saturday, as the Cincinnati Bengals continue their road trip against the Patriots. Cincinnati has won six straight games and is peaking at the right time of the year, as they head into Week 16 having defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34-23. New England had one of the most shocking losses in NFL history last Sunday, losing to the Las Vegas Raiders on the last play of the game, by a final score of 30-24.

We’ll take a look at three factors to watch during this important AFC tilt.

How Will New England Bounce Back?

People will be thinking about the Patriots’ loss in Las Vegas for many years to come, as the highlight of New England wide receiver Jakobi Meyers throwing the ball right to Raiders linebacker Chandler Jones will be played nonstop. That series of events ranks right up there with some of the most embarrassing moments in NFL history, such as the Butt Fumble, or the fumble the Philadelphia Eagles had in the 1970’s against the New York Giants.

The reason why the play was so surprising was because it happened under the watch of probably the greatest NFL coach of all time. Bill Belichick’s teams have routinely been smarter and more disciplined than most of the competition, but fell on their faces in Week 15. New England will have to shake off the bad vibes quickly as they prepare for one of the best teams in the NFL.

Joe Burrow Remains Calm Under Pressure

The last few weeks have continued to bolster the idea that Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is amongst the very best at his position. In the last two weeks, he’s faced a couple of different challenges, and hasn’t blinked. In Week 14, he went head to head with Patrick Mahomes for the third time in a year, and made big throws when the team needed him most.

Last week against the Buccaneers, the Bengals fell into a 17-0 hole on the road against a Tom Brady-led team. Cincinnati got on the board with a field goal late in the half, and then took advantage of several Buccaneers turnovers. Burrow made sure that the Bengals made each opportunity count by getting the ball into the endzone.

Chase-ing Greatness

There was fear that emerging superstar wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase might be lost for the season after he was diagnosed with a hip injury in October. Cincinnati still figured to be in good shape with Tee Higgins on the outside, but losing Chase’s game breaking ability would’ve been tough for them to overcome.

He’s been able to return to the lineup in recent weeks, and he doesn’t appear to be compromised by the injury at all. Burrow has looked for Chase early and often since he’s been back on the field, which is a huge boost for Cincinnati’s hopes to make another trip to the Super Bowl.