The Patriots and Bengals will meet this week for the fourth time in preseason play and for the first of two meetings in 2004. Cincinnati will travel to Foxborough in the regular season for a Dec. 12 tilt at Gillette Stadium. New England holds a 1-2 preseason record against the Bengals but has a 10-8 advantage in the regular-season series between the clubs. The Patriots and Bengals have not met in the preseason in 14 years, having last tangled in the 1990 preseason, when the Bengals pulled out a 13-10 overtime victory over the Patriots at Foxboro Stadium. This week will mark the Patriots' first trip to Cincinnati for a preseason contest. The only other time they traveled to play the Bengals in the preseason, the game was played on the campus of Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.
PATRIOTS - BENGALS QUICK HITS
- Patriots head coach Bill Belichick holds an 8-3 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 will 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.
- Of the 11 games the Patriots have won against the Bengals, both in the preseason and regular season, 10 of those wins have been by 11 points or fewer.
A PRESEASON RARITY
This week's game will mark the first time since 1997 that the Patriots have played an AFC opponent in the preseason. Prior to this week, New England's last 28 preseason games have all been against teams from the NFC. The last time the Patriots squared off against intra-conference opposition in the preseason was on Aug. 17, 1997, when the Patriots defeated the Denver Broncos, 31-21, at Foxboro Stadium. This week's game is just the third preseason clash against an AFC opponent since Robert Kraft purchased the Patriots in 1994. Prior to this week, just two of the Patriots' previous 43 preseason games had been against AFC opposition.
Quarterbacks Tom Brady and Carson Palmer are slated to start opposite each other for the first time. 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. Palmer, the top pick in the 2003 draft, was anointed the Cincinnati starter in the offseason and will face New England for the first time. Cincinnati backup Jon Kitna has started against the Patriots once, completing 18 of 27 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown in the 2001 season opener (09/09/01)
- 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.
- 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 assistant coach 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.
- Patriots tight end Andy Mignery is from Hamilton, Ohio, a town located 25 miles north of Cincinnati.
- Bengals linebacker Frank Chamberlin attended Boston College from 1996-99.
A winning record in the preseason has historically been a harbinger of success for New England. The Patriots have qualified for the playoffs seven of the last nine times they recorded a winning preseason record. The last seven times the Patriots have made the playoffs, they have also had a winning preseason record.
PRESEASON SUCCESS STREAK
New England has won eight consecutive preseason games and has been victorious in 12 of its last 14 preseason contests. The Patriots are 17-4 (.810) at home in the preseason since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994, including an 8-1 (.889) mark at home in the preseason under head coach Bill Belichick. Since Belichick took over as head coach in 2000, the Patriots hold an overall mark of 14-4 (.778) in the preseason.
The Patriots are 28-15 (.651) in the preseason since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. New England has had a winning record in seven of its last eight preseasons. Prior to 1994, the Patriots were 60-96-1 (.385) in the preseason. New England enters this week's game with an all-time preseason mark of 88-111-1.
BILL BELICHICK IN THE PRESEASON
Bill Belichick has compiled an overall record of 25-13 (.658) in the preseason, including a 14-4 (.778) mark as Patriots head coach. Belichick's teams have been .500 or above in all nine of his previous preseasons as a head coach in the NFL.
PATRIOTS PRESEASON OPENERS
Since Bill Belichick took over as head coach of the Patriots, the team is 4-1 in preseason openers, including last week's 24-6 win over the Philadelphia Eagles at Gillette Stadium. Overall, New England is 16-29 (.356) in preseason openers.
THIS WEEK IN PATRIOTS HISTORY - AUGUST 14 - AUGUST 21
August 14, 1960: The Patriots played their first home game at Harvard Stadium, a 24-14 loss to the Dallas Texans in front of 11,000 fans.
August 15, 1971: The Patriots made their debut at Schaefer Stadium in Foxborough. Gino Cappelletti kicked a 36-yard field goal for the first points scored in the stadium as the Patriots topped the N.Y. Giants, 20-14, before 60,423 fans.
August 20, 1977: Installation of a new Super Turf surface in Schaefer Stadium was completed.
August 18, 1993: Bob Dee, Jim Lee Hunt, Steve Nelson and Babe Parilli were inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame.
August 17, 2002: The Patriots hosted the first football game at Gillette Stadium, a 16-15 preseason victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.