Commentary

Salisbury: Brady too much for Bengals

Updated: October 1, 2007, 12:57 PM ET
By Sean Salisbury | ESPN

Every Monday, ESPN football analyst Sean Salisbury provides his picks and keys to the game for ESPN PlayCaller. Want to put Sean's advice to work? Think you know better? Join now and let's see what you've got.

Predictions

Most touchdown passes: Tom Brady
Because of the limited run game, I think Brady will get more throws and end up with more touchdowns to show for it.

Most yards rushing:New England Patriots
Even if Laurence Maroney is out, the Patriots will still lead in the rushing category. Sammy Morris should be the guy tonight, in any event.

Most receiving yards: Randy Moss
When he's right, there are few better than Moss, and I look for him to have another big night.

First touchdown: New England Patriots
They are so methodical with their game. They know they are on the road and will set the tempo. They are the league's best team, and extremely efficient.

Most field goals:Shayne Graham
And this is why the Patriots will win.

Player with the first touchdown:Benjamin Watson
I think it will be a red zone catch.

Player with the most touchdowns: Chad Johnson
Brady will spread it around as always and give everyone a shot. Palmer will find his favorite target in the end zone for what could be multiple touchdowns.

Most rushing touchdowns: Sammy Morris
Maroney won't be the guy tonight. When the Patriots get down close, Morris will get the bulk of the carries.

Keys to the game for the Bengals

  1. Put the ball in Carson Palmer's hands
    There is a good chance that the Bengals won't be able to run the ball. I would not be shocked to see Palmer throw the ball 50 times tonight. He is Cincinnati's best player and the one who gives the Bengals the best chance to win.

  2. Deal with a lot of different defensive looks.
    The Patriots give you so many different looks on defense that it is imperative that Palmer work through all that nonsense.

  3. Get to Tom Brady
    I don't know how they are going to do it, but the Bengals have to stop Brady from completing almost 80 percent of his attempts. If they don't, he will run roughshod over the Bengals. If they have to take risks, then so be it. The Bengals must create turnovers.

  4. Make big plays
    Whether it be via special teams, offensive genius or on defense, the Bengals must do something special.

Keys to the game for the Patriots

  1. Don't get caught up in being the favorite
    It probably isn't going to happen to a Bill Belichick team, but this is upset weekend in both college football and the NFL. Take a long look and be on upset alert.

  2. Spread Cincinnati out
    With Maroney perhaps out with injury, you will see a lot of empty backfields, and when that happens, New England can create a lot of mismatches.

  3. Sew up the protection
    Give Brady time and he will eat you alive. Protection first, and everything else takes care of itself.

  4. Score maximum points in the red zone
    You don't want to go on the road, get it into the red zone and then come away with field goals. Red zone touchdowns must be scored by the Patriots. It's not as though the Bengals can't score, so touchdowns are a must.

Sean Salisbury is an NFL analyst for ESPN