The Patriots and Bengals will meet this week for the 19th time in regular-season play and for just the third time in the last 10 seasons. The clubs will stage a rematch of their clash in the 2004 preseason, a game in which the Bengals rolled to a 31-3 win at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. In the regular season, the Patriots have won three of the last four meetings between the teams dating back to 1993, but each of those four games were close contests decided by less than a touchdown. The Patriots hold an overall series lead of 10-8, and have won eight of the last 13 games between the clubs, dating back to 1978. The Bengals will be making their first appearance at Gillette Stadium and will travel to Foxborough for the first time since 2000, when the Patriots pulled out a 16-13 win at Foxboro Stadium. The Patriots hold a 6-2 advantage in their eight previous home games against Cincinnati.
PATRIOTS - BENGALS QUICK HITS
- Patriots head coach Bill Belichick holds a 9-3 career record against the Bengals. While coaching the Cleveland Browns from 1991-95, Belichick faced Cincinnati twice a year and posted an 8-2 record against the Bengals over that span.
- Bengals coach Marvin Lewis has never faced the Patriots as a head coach, but he holds a 2-2 record against New England as an assistant coach.
- The Bengals are the only team the Patriots face in both the preseason and regular season in 2004. This is the fourth time in the last five seasons that the Patriots will face a preseason opponent in the regular season.
Tom Brady will start against the Bengals for the first time in his career. Brady was with the Patriots the last time they played the Bengals in the 2001 season opener but did not see action as the backup to Drew Bledsoe. Brady has compiled a record of 22-6 (.786) when facing a team for the first time. This season, he is 3-0 when facing new teams (Arizona, Seattle and Baltimore). After this week's game, the only teams Brady will have not yet faced will be San Francisco and Tampa Bay.
PATRIOTS VS. AFC NORTH
The Patriots will face a team from the AFC North division for the third consecutive week. In the two weeks preceding this game, New England defeated Baltimore (24-3 on Nov. 28) and Cleveland (42-15 on Dec. 5), two of Cincinnati's division rivals. The 2004 NFL schedule pits AFC North teams against AFC East squads, and the Patriots hold a 2-1 record in their previous three games against AFC North opposition this season.
- Patriots running back Corey Dillon spent the first seven years of his career playing for the Bengals and in that time came to own or share 18 different Bengals franchise records, including most rushing yards in a game (278), most rushing yards in a season (1,435 in 2000) and most rushing yards in a career (8,061).
- While head coach of the Cleveland Browns, Bill Belichick hired Darrin Simmons as a coaching intern. Simmons is currently the special teams coach for the Cincinnati Bengals.
- Cincinnati defensive assistant Chuck Bresnahan was originally hired by Bill Belichick as a quality control coach for the Cleveland Browns in 1994.
- Patriots assistant offensive line/tight ends coach Jeff Davidson was a four-year letterman at Ohio State and was born in Akron, Ohio.
- Patriots quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels was born and raised in Canton, Ohio.
- Patriots linebackers coach Dean Pees is a native of Dunkirk, Ohio and is a graduate of Bowling Green State University. He has also been a defensive coordinator at Miami (Ohio) and the University of Toledo.
- Bengals quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese is the son of Ernie Zampese, who was the Patriots' offensive coordinator from 1998-99.
- Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown has recorded two of his 14 career 100-yard games against the Bengals, grabbing seven passes for 106 yards in Cincinnati (09/09/01) and eight passes for 110 yards against the Bengals in Foxborough (11/19/00).
- Patriots offensive tackle Matt Light was born and raised in Greenville, Ohio, about 90 miles north of Cincinnati.
- Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel was born in Akron, Ohio and attended Ohio State, where he earned his degree this past offseason.
- Bengals cornerback Deltha O'Neal and Patriots linebacker Tully Banta-Cain played on the same defensive unit at the University of California.
- Patriots linebacker Justin Kurpeikis and Bengals tight end Tony Stewart played together at Penn State.
One of the oldest mantras in sports is that it doesn't matter where you start a season, but it does matter where you finish it. The Patriots have done a remarkable job of finishing strong over the past two-plus seasons, as they have compiled a 33-4 (.892) record after November 1 since the 2001 season.
THIS WEEK IN PATRIOTS HISTORY
Dec. 10, 1978-The Patriots clinch their first outright divisional championship in the club's history with a last minute 26-24 victory over Buffalo at home.
Dec. 12, 1982-The Patriots defeat the Miami Dolphins 3-0 in the Ã¢â'¬Å"Snow Plow GameÃ¢â'¬Â. Mark Henderson uses his to plow to clear a kicking surface on the Schaefer Stadium turf for John Smith. Smith then connected on a 33-yard field goal, the only score of the game.
Dec. 7, 1986-Wide receiver Stanley Morgan establishes a new team record for catches in a single season with his 67th reception. Morgan, who finished the season with 84 catches, broke Derrick Ramsey's previous mark of 66 grabs, set in 1984.
Dec. 8, 1996-The Patriots clinch their second playoff berth in two years by defeating the N.Y. Jets 34-10.
Dec. 6, 1999-In a Foxborough town meeting, over 93 percent of the town's residents voted in favor of passing six necessary articles to approve construction on a new stadium, now Gillette Stadium.
Dec. 7, 2003-The Patriots defeat the Miami Dolphins, 12-0, in snowy Foxborough to claim the seventh division title in franchise history en route to the team's second Super Bowl championship in three years.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Patriots have recorded a 21-3 (.875) all-time record at Gillette Stadium, including regular-season and postseason games. New England has won 17 consecutive regular-season and postseason contests at home, compiling the longest current home winning streak in the NFL. New England has not lost at home since a 30-17 defeat to the New York Jets on Dec. 22, 2002. The Patriots' .875 winning percentage at Gillette Stadium is the highest of any NFL team at its current home.
The average number of points the Patriots defense has allowed in its last three home games.
The average number of points the Patriots have allowed through six games at Gillette Stadium this season.
The Patriots' average number of points allowed per game this season, ranking fourth in the NFL.
The number of sacks the Patriots have registered so far this season.
The number of sacks the Patriots will notch on the season if they continue at their current pace, the most since New England registered 51.0 sacks in 1985.
The Patriots' rank in the NFL in sacks per pass play.
The number of Patriots defenders who have registered at least one sack on the season.
The total number of net yards the Patriots have allowed in their last two home games.
The number of games this season in which the Patriots have held opponents to fewer than 300 net yards.
The number of 100-yard rushers the Patriots have allowed this season.
The total number of rushing yards the Patriots have allowed opponents this season, 32 yards fewer than Corey Dillon has registered by himself on the year.
The number of yards rushing Corey Dillon has gained so far this season, placing him fourth in the NFL despite having played in 11 of 12 games this season.
The number of games this season in which Dillon has passed the century mark in rushing yards, establishing a career high.
The number of 100-yard games Curtis Martin recorded in 1995, establishing a Patriots record.
The number of seasons, out of the eight he has been in the league, in which Corey Dillon has reached 1,000 yards rushing.
The number of seasons, out of the eight he has been in the league, in which Corey Dillon has reached 1,200 yards rushing.
The number of touchdowns Dillon has recorded in 2004, one shy of his career high, set in 1997 and 2001.
The average number of yards Dillon has gained per rushing attempt, tying him for fourth in the NFL among players with 120 or more attempts.
The number of rushing yards Dillon is on pace to record this season, a total that would top Curtis Martin's franchise-best season total of 1,487 yards in 1995.
The number of rushing attempts Dillon is on pace to record in 2004, which would be a career high and would place him second in Patriots' history.
Consecutive games in which Tom Brady has started at quarterback.
Consecutive victories when leading after three quarters, a post-merger NFL record.
Consecutive victories when scoring 21 or more points.
Consecutive victories when leading at halftime, tying a post-merger NFL record.
Consecutive victories when producing a positive turnover differential.
Consecutive field goals Adam Vinatieri has made.
Consecutive games in which the Patriots have scored first (20 games including playoffs).
Consecutive victories at Gillette Stadium (17 games including playoffs).
Consecutive games in which the Patriots have scored in the second quarter.
Consecutive wins against AFC East division opponents.
Consecutive overtime wins (8 games including playoffs).
Consecutive games won overall.
Consecutive Patriots games televised locally, including preseason, regular-season and postseason games.
Consecutive sellouts in Foxborough, including preseason, regular-season and postseason games.
NOTE: All of the above streaks include regular-season games only, unless noted.
THE KRAFT ERA
The Patriots record at home since 1994, including preseason, regular-season and postseason games.
The Patriots' record at Gillette Stadium, including regular-season and postseason games (.875 win pct).
The Patriots' record in preseason, regular-season and postseason games since 1996 (.643 win pct).
The Patriots' regular-season record since 1996 (.629 win pct).
The Patriots' postseason record since 1996 (.750 win pct).
THE BELICHICK ERA
Bill Belichick's overall record as head coach of the Patriots, including the regular season and the playoffs.
Belichick's record in New England when his team scores 25 points or more.
Belichick's record in New England when his team scores 21 points or more.