5 keys to victory: 1) Defensive backfield: The Bengals love to run out of bunch and stack looks and this is a tailor-made disaster waiting to happen for the young Patriots backfield if they miscommunicate, forget their alignment, or lose their man in zone coverage. They also have got to stop checking down every time someone motions or flexes out. Bengals will look to run stack and align WR inside the numbers to run the cross to beat defensive leverages. With two big outside receivers in Ochocinco and Owens, look for us to be in the nickel for the majority of the game so that we have over the top help on both sides of the field, yet be able to walk someone int the box (Page) to spy Gresham. The big key is for Butler and McCourty to not rely on their athleticism too much to bail them out in case of trouble because that will not help them this time. They must stay in proper tech, outside shade, open hips, no playing off the back heel, and keep leverage at all time, but most importantly: know where the ball is at all times. 2) Stop the Bengals RB from hitting open space: Bengals have two RB's who can hit the homerun anytime, Benson and Peerman who I am nervous about as he is lightning fast. If those guys hit open space, they are gone. Our 3-4 run stopping is designed to force the RB play to lateral, but with very fast RB's that can backfire as either of those RB's can end around for substantial gains. I think we will see some 40 over (strongside) front looks today out of our DL. However with Burgess no longer there, I feel better about our run-stopping ability and think we will go back to the same results that we saw in the first preseason game. Look for Spikes to be greatly tested as the game will pick up a whole lot faster and become more complicated. We must be patient on run-stopping and flow to the ball well, and not overpursue the runner. 3) Big day from the TE's and from Randy Moss: Hall and Joseph are two of the best corners in the league, and they will be covering our deep receivers, and you will see a lot of press coverages on the wideouts and the slot, and they usually do a great job on that, so I think our X factor will come from our tight ends, particularly Gronk who will be a bad mismatch for the Bengals. I would say not to be surprised to see a 10/100 day from Gronk and a TD or two as he works the seam which is the soft underbelly of the Bengals D. Moss will be covered well, but he always seems to get up for a game when he plays against TO who he intensely dislikes. So I would say that he will find a way to have an outstanding day, one way or another, as he historically does when playing against TO. 4) Holding up at LG: In the preseason the LG (Connolly for the most part) held up ok, but then again this was preseason with all the vanilla schemes. You can bet that Bengals are going to scheme to probe that position, and hit the weakside A and B gap with heavy stunts and blitzes, particularly the A gap because Koppen can easily lose leverage if he is overwhelmed, and if his side collapses, then Connolly will get blown up because while he is a solid lineman, he is not outstanding. They must keep their eyes on Odom who had 8 sacks in 6 games before tearing his achilles tendon, but who is healthy now. Look for us to start in the pro set, or at least have secondary blocking until we figure out their schemes. 5) Outshoot them: Like it or not, our defense is going to make mistakes today because the Bengals are going to really push our capacity to read, with their complicated looks and motions, so I think the key today is for our offense to come firing out of the gate and sustain that, and to keep ahead of the Bengals ability to score on the young defense. I think we will score in the 30's and outdistance them by a FG or TD. If we win like this, I will take it, because we get the W, and our defense will get that great experience against an offense that seems tailor-made to exploit them.