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Tom Brady and the Patriots have been a dominant force this season and look to make another deep run into the playoffs.
This final question has been submitted by Joe Soriano, the lead editor of Musket Fire, a blog for the New England Patriots. Being that the Patriots are currently the three-seed in the AFC playoff picture, and the winner of this game could very well meet them at Gillette Stadium in the first round.
Last week, the San Francisco 49ers showed the NFL a small glimpse as to how to contain the high-flying Patriots offense.
New England has the fastest-paced offense in the league. Teams fall to the Patriots by trying to keep up with their offense. For most NFL teams, this is just not possible.
The 49ers knew this and decided to control the game by playing sound defense and controlling the clock by successfully running the football.
San Francisco learned very quickly, however, that this must be maintained through four quarters of play as they saw the Patriots come very close to a huge come-from-behind victory.
So, between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, which team has the tools to get this done?
First off, which team can manage the clock by running the ball effectively and sustaining long drives?
Next, which team has a very stout defense that is great in the red zone and can hold high-powered offenses to field goals?
Finally, which team has the depth to keep these traits intact for the duration of a football game?
The answer in unanimously Cincinnati.
Running the ball, no back has been more successful over the past five weeks than Adrian Peterson. Second to Peterson is BenJarvus Green-Ellis. He peaked at a perfect time and has fresh legs to continue his streak into the playoffs.
Cincinnati's defense has also been lights-out recently and has been stout against the run and the pass. Pittsburgh, unfortunately, is decimated with injuries right now and would allow an offense such as New England's to pass all over them.
Lastly, Cincinnati has the depth at each defensive position to keep up solid defensive stands for the 60-minute duration of a football game. Also, this defense has only allowed three touchdowns in their opponents last 13 red-zone trips.
Granted, Pittsburgh has the playoff experience, but based on player talent and the ability to succeed against such a high-powered team, the advantage goes to the Bengals.