What experts are predicting for Saturday’s Patriots-Bengals game

The Patriots are only three-point underdogs, but many experts still expect them to lose on Saturday.

Mac Jones has shown his frustration a lot in recent weeks. Will he be frustrated again or will the Patriots come away with a win on Saturday? Jim Davis/Globe Staff

If sophomore quarterback Mac Jones really wants to expand on his brand, he’d embrace this opportunity under the microscope.

Everybody from Vince Wilfork to Julian Edelman is criticizing the Patriots QB for acting like that obnoxious dolt in high school who whined to the gym teacher about some injustice while you continued to savor the five-hole. This is the same guy who acted like Mary Decker after an injury that was about on par with a hangnail.

But he should still take the moment and welcome the whiny persona. Rachel Dratch took the whole Eeyore persona to “Saturday Night Live.” Mac should bring it to the NFL.


Forget comparisons to Kirk Cousins. Try Jay Cutler.

Jones (presumably, I mean, who knows what’s happening at this point) gets the start Saturday afternoon when the Patriots host the Bengals on what should be a frigid Gillette Stadium. Got tickets as a gift? Have fun. Olive Garden is only steps away.

Let’s just say the Pats aren’t darlings this week.

This week’s predictions:

Globe staff: Five of six like the Bengals (-3).

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times: Bengals 28, Patriots 17. “The Bengals have some of their playmakers back on offense but they are battling injuries on defense. New England’s pass rush is going to pose some problems for the Bengals offensive line.”

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Bengals 30, Patriots 17. “The Bengals are playing consecutive road games, but the Patriots are stinging from a terrible loss last week to the Raiders. The Bengals have some defensive injuries, but the Patriots have issues on offense. Look for Joe Burrow to continue to play well as the Bengals win it.”

CBS Sports staff: All Bengals (-3.5).

ESPN staff: One of five pick the Pats.

Michael Hurley, CBS Boston: Bengals (-3). “Look. How does a team respond to throwing a game away — and throwing their season away in the process — with two laterals at the end of a tie game? We just don’t know. We have no data to look back on to determine a trend. I’m leaning toward “poorly,” though.”


Jimmy Kempski, PhillyVoice: Bengals (-3). “This line seems awfully low. The Bengals are rolling while the Patri*ts have been one of the worst coached teams in the NFL this season.”

Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports: Patriots (+3.5). “Look ahead spot for the Bengals? They get the Bills next week at home for ‘Monday Night Football.’ After that is a game against the Ravens that will very likely be the AFC North championship game. Meanwhile, the Patriots need to steal one after giving a game away last week at the Raiders. And it’s a week in which everyone is writing off New England, and we know what happens then. This seems set up for an upset.”

Sheil Kapadia, The Ringer: Bengals (-3). “The team-building has been terrible. The decision to hand the offense to Matt Patricia has been disastrous. The situational football and game management have been among the worst in the NFL. For 20 years, we constantly heard about the Patriot Way, how ‘Belichick’s teams would never’ make the same boneheaded mistakes as other teams. Now? New England is sloppy pretty much every week. Last week’s game against the Raiders was more the norm than the exception.”


Vinnie Iyer, The Sporting News: Bengals 31, Patriots 23. “Joe Burrow was stone cold in coming back to defeat Tom Brady and the Buccaneers on the road. He will give Bill Belichick and a suddenly reeling Patriots’ pass defense the same feeling. The Bengals are still solid vs. the run defensively and thier diverse receiving weapons around Burrow will make it hard for Belichick to find enough bodies to take away key elements.”

Bill Bender, The Sporting News: Bengals 28, Patriots 24. “The Bengals are in top form with six straight victories, and the defense has allowed just 88.3 rushing yards per game in that stretch. Can New England get that going to support Mac Jones against a strong pass rush? How will the Patriots get to Joe Burrow – who has 14 TDs and just four interceptions in that winning streak? The Bengals keep rolling on the road.”

Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: Bengals 30, Patriots 23. “Ding dong, the witch is dead.”

Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk: Bengals 28, Patriots 27. “The Patriots still control their playoff destiny, just needing to win out to earn a wild card. But that will no longer be the case after they lose to the Bengals on Sunday.”

FiveThirtyEight: Bengals, 63 percent (-3.5).

Gregg Rosenthal, Bengals 24, Patriots 17. “I feel for New England’s defense. If Bill Belichick paired this group of playmakers with last year’s Josh McDaniels-led offense, the Patriots would probably be 9-5 right now. Instead, Belichick hired his buddies to run the offense, and the unit is among the most poorly coached in football. Cincinnati is too sound to give up consistent drives to this team, and the mismatches on the outside for the Bengals’ receivers will be too much for the Patriots to overcome. With the win, Cincy clinches its second straight postseason berth.”


NFL Pickwatch: Ninety percent, Bengals (-170).

It says here: Bengals 27, Patriots 16. Can you imagine the Bengals trash talk that’s going to take place on-field less than a week after the Patriots became international laughingstocks?


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