The Cincinnati Bengals went through a relatively quiet offseason. Their only major addition came in the form of perhaps the loudest wide receiver in NFL history, Terrell Owens. Now the Bengals can boast two of the most notorious divas in wide out history. Cincy thrived last season utilizing a power running game behind Cedric Benson, and one of the top defenses in the league. Bringing in Owens will create an identity shift that will result in disaster, starting this Sunday in New England.
While the Patriots have a young and inexperienced secondary, the Bengals would be foolish to try and exploit it. Chad Ochocinco, their top target, is still a quality receiver, but is not the same threat he once was. Owens hasn't been a serious threat for years, and has been near the top of the league in drops the past couple seasons. His size and strength still pose a problem, but he's no longer the same player who was capable of taking a slant and sprinting past defenders 65 yards for a touchdown.
Even though their youth will show through at some times, New England's cornerbacks are physical enough to handle both Ochocinco and Owens. On the other side of the ball, the Bengals defense forced a high amount of turnovers to what they gave away. The Patriots emphasize taking care of the football, and Tom Brady is one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the game.
While the Bengals likely have a better team on paper, the Patriots will end up prevailing due to Cincinnati's weakness of hubris. Marvin Lewis has proven through various off-field discretions by his players, that he's not a mentally strong coach. By adding the combustible personality of Owens to the equally boisterous Ochocinco, Lewis has created his own worst enemy. He'll be pressured to rely on the pass when he should rely on the run.
There's no doubt that New England coach Bill Belichick knows this. He's going to have his team prepared accordingly and make sure that his young cornerbacks know what to expect from two of the most notorious receivers in the past decade. Both still pose some problems, but not enough to carry the Bengals past the Pats. New England's offense will carry the day once again, and Cincy will be submarined by their own ego.