CINCINNATI, Ohio - Heading into tonight's Monday Night Football contest here on the Ohio-Kentucky border, the Cincinnati Bengals sound like a team with an identity crisis.
"They've been a great team for so long," Bengals right tackle Willie Anderson said of his opponents, the New England Patriots, in an ESPN.com story today.
"We're still struggling years and years into this whole thing, trying to figure out what kind of football team we're going to be, what kind of games we can win at the end."
Is Anderson just trying to set the Pats up? Perhaps, but there may also be some truth to what he's saying.
"They are a well-coached, disciplined team and they're not a bunch of misfits out there," observed Anderson, whose team is 1-2 to start the 2007 season.
"They are going out there as a professional group of guys and that's going to be a big challenge for us, being able to challenge that group of guys professionally. They are a class-act team. They know how to play football and how to win games."
In an article in today's Columbus Dispatch, Cincy QB Carson Palmer agreed.
"You look at their first three games, there's just so much different stuff. We know we're going to see something different from the years past when we played in the preseason and regular season. We're going to see something different than what they've done over the past three weeks. You just don't know.
"Pats head coach Bill Belichick] is so good," Palmer continued. "He's never going to give his secrets away. He takes away everyone's strengths, every quarterback's strengths, makes teams play to their weaknesses. He's done it year in, year out. [It's scary going up against him."
The Lexington Herald-Leader, meanwhile, is forecasting another 38-point scoring spree by New England.
But the Bengals, it turns out, will be sporting their lucky orange uniforms, in which they have never lost a game. That's part of the fun pre-game trash talk among the fans on Yahoo! News.
"What are they, 6-0 with their orange jerseys? 7-0 [tonight]," Bengals fan Rod Kreuter boldly stated. But the Banno brothers disagree.
"Pain. A lot of pain for Cincinnati," Dave Banno predicted.
"It's an easy victory," added his brother Jeff.
NFL.com explains why tonight's MNF battle is the best match-up of Week 4.
They also predict that RB Laurence Maroney could have a career game against the Bengals.
Take the Patriots-Bengals quiz posted by the Cincinnati Enquirer.