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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Week 5 Injury Report: Patriots vs. Bengals on Sunday Night Football

Without question for as long as I can remember, there hasn't been a week nearly as tumultuous as this one has been for the Pats at least when it comes to poor results on the field. After taking a 41-14 beating in Kansas City (2-2) on Monday Night Football, New England (2-2) turns around for another primetime matchup: vs. unbeaten Cincinnati (3-0) on Sunday Night Football (8:30, NBC) at Gillette Stadium.

About the only good thing to come out of all their terrible play this season is that most Patriots fans are finally learning to be a bit more objective with their favorite team which isn't a bad thing. There are so many issues for New England to address at the moment that you can't help but question many of their core beliefs: 1) not spending too much (leaving plenty of open cap space), 2) skipping over the top talents in the draft and 3) letting the offensive line become a revolving door of nobodies.

A staple of the Patriots when they were good is that they never lost back-to-back games and when people started to question them (like this week or the whole season so far), they rally around and pull off a resounding response that ends in a victory. It's not an original thought since everyone has said it but this game vs. Cincinnati truly represents a crossroads for head coach Bill Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady and the rest of the team/front office. If they win, some semblance of hope will return. If not, yikes this will only get uglier.

Today's injury report lists safety Nate Ebner (finger) and offensive lineman Cameron Fleming (finger) as both out for Sunday, no big loss there since they are two of the bottom players on the 53-man roster. Jamie Collins (thigh), Alfonzo Dennard (shoulder)-who has missed the past three games-defensive lineman Dominique Easley (knee), Dont'a Hightower (knee) and Chandler Jones (shoulder) are all questionable for New England.

For the Bengals, something called Brandon Thompson (knee)-a defensive tackle-is out. Linebacker Vontaze Burfict (concussion), wide receiver Marvin Jones (ankle) and guard Kevin Zeitler (calf) are all doubtful. Defensive end Margus Hunt (shoulder) is the lone guy on Cincinnati that is questionable.

Enjoy the afternoon games on Sunday and get ready for what should be a fascinating contest on Sunday night. I'll update this before kickoff in Foxborough with the incomparable Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth. Think those good thoughts!

UPDATE 10/5: Bengals inactives are Jones, Burfict, Zeitler, Thompson, RB Rex Burkhead, DL Will Clarke and DB Chris Lewis-Harris. For the Patriots: Ebner, Fleming, Hightower, OL Josh Kline, RB James White, DL Zach Moore and CB Malcolm Butler.

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