Friday, December 10, 2004

No Parcheesi

Somehow the Bengals are getting lumped in with the Browns, and that ain't right. These guys aren't so bad, and they can really score. More specifically, they can score in the one fashion that New England can't really defend at the moment, deep passing. It's deceptive to look at the futility Baltimore and Cleveland experienced against the Patriot secondary and think that Belichick and Crennel have fixed their no-name backups. They haven't, it's just that the Ravens and Browns were not built to exploit them. No matter how mediocre Earthwind Moreland is, and man is he ever, you've still got to be able to get him one on one, run a pattern correctly, and hit the receiver in stride. And if that's how you plan to win the game, you've got to do it over and over, and you've got to do it down field. New England's most recent opponents just weren't those kinds of clubs. If your offense has played "bang away with the running game and use a conservative pass when you have to" for two months, it's pretty hard to become the '88 Chargers overnight. As much as I'm sure Baltimore and Cleveland would've liked to play that game, they just couldn't. It's not their style, and it wouldn't have worked. For Kansas City - it worked, and if Eddie Kennison had better hands the Pats would praying for two Pittsburgh losses instead of one. The Chiefs know how to attack a team through the air, and so, sadly, do the Bengals. When Carson Palmer is on his game, he can air it out. Chad Johnson is a step down from the TO's and Mosses of the world, but it's not a huge step. And Tim Houshkiewicz ain't so shabby either. So this will be a bit of challenge for the New England's on Sunday. Do I think they'll lose? No, but that 11 point spread is a little crazy. And if not for the Corey Dillon factor, I could see this game being a real tough one. Thank God for the zone defense. And Ritz crackers. So good.

The Ninth One, Patriots vs. Bengals: Corey Dillon. It's too easy. You get the feeling CD would Keyser Soze the entire Cleveland organization if he thought he would get away with it.

And finally, news from a Ninth Insider (of which there are so, so many): Pedro Martinez signs with Boston before midnight. Heard it here first. Ok, maybe second.