Sep 29, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali (91) hits New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) while passing during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 41-14. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
The Cincinnati Bengals enter today’s game against the New England Patriots as one of the NFL’s hottest teams and as an early trendy pick to win the Super Bowl. Due to the timing of this contest, the Bengals also might contribute to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s eventual decision to leave New England, which, according to Chris Mortensen at ESPN.com, is already a distinct possibility.
The Patriots have struggled to a .500 record through four games this season, and Brady has looked mediocre at best, with his QBR sitting at a career-low 46.5 points. The Pats have not hit many home runs in recent drafts, and Mortensen reports that Brady is becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of help around him.
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Compounding the tension is the fact that the Patriots drafted QB Jimmy Garoppolo as Brady’s potential heir in the pocket, and there are some who think the rookie is not too far away from assuming a bigger role in the offense.
Most acutely, the Patriots deconstructed last Monday night at Arrowhead Stadium against a Kansas City Chiefs team who have been more competitive in 2014 than in recent seasons but who don’t figure to make a big post-season splash anytime soon. If the Pats can’t right the ship soon, Brady’s Camelot might come crashing down before 2014 is over.
For the Bengals and prognosticators, this is a classic “trap” game, wherein a hot team creates a lot of buzz and looks like an easy pick to knock of a previous contender. So often in the past, we have seen such match-ups light a fire under the butt of the sleeping lion, which would be the Pats and Brady in this case.
If the threat of the upstart Bengals is not enough to shake Brady and his teammates out of their doldrums, then Mortensen’s take may come to pass quicker than any of us might have predicted. There is a very real possibility that Tom Brady is standing on the precipice in New England, and Bengals just might swat him over the edge.