FOXBORO MA - SEPTEMBER 12: Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots throws a pass during a the NFL season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium on September 12 2010 in Foxboro Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

More Of The Same: Patriots' Offense Leads The Way In Week 1 Opener, Downs Bengals, 38-24

The New England Patriots began their 2010 season in fashion Sunday afternoon, cruising past the Bengals, 38-28. Tom Brady was 28-of-38 with three TDs and, in his first game back since an ACL injury, Wes Welker caught a pair of scores. Read more at Pats Pulpit.

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VIDEO: Randy Moss Speaks His Mind Follow Patriots Week 1 Win

Randy Moss caught five passes for 59 yards in Sunday's win over the Bengals. Then, after the game, he really made headlines. Speaking at the postgame press conference, Moss said, among other things, that while he wants to return to the Patriots in 2011, he doesn't see it happening.

"I'm not saying that I'm not appreciated here, but I would like to feel that sometimes." he said. "This is [the] last year of my contract. [Nothing's] been discussed, [nothing's been] said, not a letter, nothing. I'm not saying that I want to stay here, but I love playing here . . . So I'm going to play my year out . . . to the best of my ability."

"I don't want to take away from the win," he said, "but I think that before the season gets started, I don't want to be [in] Week Ten or Week Eleven or Week Twelve and we're still sitting here talking about a contract. Basically, what I want to let you all know is, I know this is the last year of my contract. And I'm here to play it out. And I want to play some damn good football."

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Patriots 38, Bengals 24: Tom Brady's Three TDs Lead New England To Week 1 Win

Foxboro, MA (Sports Network) - Tom Brady threw for three touchdowns as New England dispatched Cincinnati, 38-24, in the season-opener for both clubs from Gillette Stadium.

Brady, fresh from agreeing on Thursday to a four-year contract extension reportedly worth $72 million, was an efficient 25-of-35 for 258 yards for the Patriots, who are coming off a 10-6 season and first-round playoff loss in 2009.

Coming off a season-ending torn ACL, Wes Welker struck for eight catches for 64 yards and two-first half scores. Randy Moss added five receptions for 59 yards and Fred Taylor gained 71 yards on 14 carries.

Carson Palmer went 34-of-50 for 345 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for the Bengals, who also finished 10-6 and made a postseason appearance last season.

Chad Ochocinco led all receivers with 12 catches for 159 yards and a score. Terrell Owens made his Cincinnati regular-season debut by hauling in seven balls for 53 yards while Cedric Benson totaled 43 yards and a rushing TD on 15 attempts.

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Week 1, Patriots Vs. Bengals: A Pair Of 2009 Division Winners Meet In Foxborough On Sunday

(Sports Network) - Though the New England Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals both finished atop their respective divisions in 2009, both teams enter Sunday's season-opening showdown at Gillette Stadium with their share of skeptics and an unfulfilled feeling even after last year's accomplishments.

The 2009 Patriots recorded a seventh consecutive season of double-digit victories and captured a sixth AFC East title over that impressive era, but the team's quest to regain supremacy of a conference it had ruled for much of the past decade came to a swift and bitter end with a revealing 33-14 home loss to Baltimore in last January's Wild Card Playoffs. That one-sided defeat, in which New England was bullied for 234 rushing yards by the more-physical Ravens, has triggered a growing sense that the once-mighty Pats are now a decaying dynasty about to enter an inevitable phase of transition.

While the Patriots may be on the decline, it's still hard to overlook a team that has a former NFL MVP and three-time Super Bowl champion at quarterback (Tom Brady), plus a pair of prolific wide receivers (Randy Moss, Wes Welker) and one of the league's all-time mastermind game-planners in head coach Bill Belichick at its disposal. With that accomplished core still on hand, New England remains a dangerous foe, although how the club is able to withstand the absences of key contributors such as Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins (holdout) and defensive end Ty Warren (season-ending hip injury) may ultimately determine whether the Pats can continue their amazing run of success.

The Bengals produced one of the league's biggest turnarounds a year ago, reversing a dreadful 4-11-1 campaign in 2008 into a 10-win regular season that saved the bacon of head coach Marvin Lewis. But like their Week 1 opponents, Cincinnati's deficiencies were exposed in an opening-round playoff loss in its own building.

The 24-14 setback to the up-and-coming New York Jets divulged the Bengals' most glaring weakness, a lack of viable offensive playmakers to complement standout running back Cedric Benson and flashy wide receiver Chad Ochocinco. Cincinnati went to interesting lengths in an effort to resolve the issue, bringing in controversial wideout Terrell Owens just prior to training camp.

Putting Owens, a five-time All-Pro who'll turn 37 in December, opposite the equally-flamboyant Ochocinco gives the Bengals the unquestioned most colorful pass-catching duo in the league. The team also hopes the addition pays off on the field, as Cincinnati will be attempting to end a dubious trend of failure in seasons that have followed playoff runs.

The Bengals haven't reached the postseason in back-to-back years since 1981-82, and in their four most recent playoff trips have failed to achieve a winning record the subsequent season.

SERIES HISTORY

New England holds a 13-8 lead in the all-time series with Cincinnati, winning three in a row in the series since the Bengals scored their last victory in the series, a 23-17 win at home in 2001. The Patriots were 34-13 winners when they visited Paul Brown Stadium in Week 4 of the 2007 season, and earned a 35-28 decision when the teams last met in New England, in 2004. The Bengals are 0-4 in New England since last winning there in 1986.

Belichick is 12-3 in his career against the Bengals, including 4-1 while with the Patriots. Lewis is 0-3 against both Belichick and the Patriots as a head coach.

WHEN THE BENGALS HAVE THE BALL

Most of the fans and media will likely be fixated on how the combination of Ochocinco (72 receptions, 1047 yards, 9 TD) and Owens (55 receptions, 5 TD) performs, but Cincinnati's success in 2009 was often predicated on how effective Benson (1251 rushing yards, 6 TD, 17 receptions) was between the tackles. The Bengals were 6-0 when the powerful back cranked out over 100 yards during the regular season, and he could find more lanes to run through this year with opponents having to show more respect to the pass. Owens may be getting up in years and has the reputation of being a drain in the locker room, but he's still a legitimate big-play threat and a sizeable upgrade over last year's starter, Laveraneus Coles. The Bengals added another weapon for steady quarterback Carson Palmer (3094 passing yards, 21 TD, 13 INT) via the first-round selection of tight end Jermaine Gresham in April's draft, with the Oklahoma product providing a receiving presence the team hasn't seen at the position in ages. Wide receiver and fellow rookie Jordan Shipley (3rd Round, Texas) should see immediate time working out of the slot, while promising sophomore Bernard Scott (321 rushing yards, 5 receptions) may take over regular third-down back Brian Leonard's (84 rushing yards, 30 receptions) duties with the latter presently sidelined with a sprained left foot.

Benson could be in for a banner day if the New England defense performs like it did in January's playoff loss to the Ravens, and the year-ending loss of the sturdy Warren is certainly a tough blow. The Patriots still have a top- tier stopper in the middle in two-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Vince Wilfork (43 tackles), while the addition of physical rookie inside linebacker Brandon Spikes (2nd Round, Florida) alongside 2008 Defensive Rookie of the Year Jerod Mayo (103 tackles, 1.5 sacks) also figures to aid against the run. There are questions to answer in the secondary and in regards to the pass rush, however. With top cover man Leigh Bodden (shoulder) also done for the season, New England will field a green starting cornerback tandem of 2010 first-round pick Devin McCourty and second-year pro Darius Butler (35 tackles, 3 INT) on Sunday, while outside linebacker Tully Banta-Cain (55 tackles, 10 sacks) is the only proven pressure-producer up front.

WHEN THE PATRIOTS HAVE THE BALL

New England ranked third in the NFL in passing offense (283.8 ypg) last season and got a nice bounce-back year out of Brady (4398 passing yards, 28 TD, 13 INT), who made a successful return from a serious knee injury suffered in the 2008 opener to start every game and register the second-highest yardage total of his brilliant career. The star signal-caller gave his team a scary moment after being involved in an auto accident on Thursday, but reportedly walked away unscathed and will be back in his customary role of slinging passes to Moss (83 receptions, 1264 yards, 13 TD) and favorite target Welker (1348 yards, 4 TD), whose 123 catches last year were the second-most in league history. The prolific slot receiver is a quick healer as well, having rehabbed an ACL tear suffered in the 2009 regular-season finale in time to participate in Sunday's game. His snaps may be limited, though, if capable understudy Julian Edelman (37 receptions, 1 TD) is able to play through an ankle injury that has the second-year surprise listed as questionable for the opener. Mankins, one of the game's best guards, definitely won't be available due to his nasty contract dispute with the organization, and neither will intended replacement Nick Kaczur after the converted tackle underwent back surgery in August. Their absences don't bode well for a running game that was non-existent for parts of last year and is headed up by two aging backs in 34-year-old Fred Taylor (269 rushing yards, 4 TD) and third-down specialist Kevin Faulk (335 rushing yards, 37 receptions, 3 total TD).

Cincinnati's 2009 resurgence also wouldn't have been possible without the stout play of a defense that surrendered the fourth-fewest yards in the league (301.4 ypg) despite being without its best pass rusher, Antwan Odom (19 tackles), for most of the year because of a torn Achilles he incurred in Week 6 of last season. The seventh-year end is back to lend support to a strong secondary headlined by the outstanding cornerback combo of Leon Hall (71 tackles, 6 INT, 24 PD) and Johnathan Joseph (69 tackles, 6 INT, 20 PD) and was further bolstered by the high-risk offseason pickup of Adam "Pacman" Jones. The troubled ex-Titan and Cowboy was out of football a year ago, but showed little rust while playing well in the preseason. Veteran Dhani Jones (113 tackles, 3.5 sacks), Cincy's top tackler in each of the past two seasons, is the leader and on-field coordinator of a quality linebacking group that also contains rugged run-stopper Rey Maualuga (63 tackles, 1 sack) on the strong side.

FANTASY FOCUS

There are plenty of appealing fantasy choices in this intriguing Week 1 clash. The Patriots' terrific trio of Brady, Moss and Welker are always must-starts whenever they're in the lineup, although owners of the latter should prepare for a potential drop-off while he works his way back from his injury. New England's situation at running back is far more fluid, with Taylor, Faulk and the fumble-prone Laurence Maroney (757 rushing yards, 9 TD, 14 receptions) all possibilities to be the lead guy, so it's best to sit back and let the scenario play itself out early on. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski annually ranks among the top point-getters at his position and averaged two field goals per game at home last year.

Benson stands as Cincinnati's most reliable option and should be used in all formats, while both Ochocinco and Owens clearly merit consideration in what shapes up as a juicy matchup against New England's young corners. Upgrade Palmer as well for this week, but Gresham has more value right now as a dynasty-league stash than as a consistent weekly contributor. The Bengals defense is worth drafting, but there may be better alternatives out there with a high-powered offense on tap for this week.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

It's been quite some time since the Patriots entered a season with so much uncertainty, and there's little question the Bengals have the personnel capable of exposing their opponents' perceived weak spots. Ochocinco and Owens hold a distinct experience edge on New England's raw but talented corners, and the dynamic duo should have their way unless the Pats can mount a consistent pass rush -- a big 'if' as well. That should help open up space for Benson, and the Bengals have shown to be a tough out whenever their workhorse back has a big day. While the Patriots are certainly able to prevail in a shootout, that still may be a tall order against a tough Cincinnati defense that will do just enough to prevent Brady and company from going ballistic.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Bengals 24, Patriots 20

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Randy Moss, Julian Edelman And Laurence Maroney Practice Thursday

While the circling helicopter likely only focused its camera on Tom Brady at Thursday's practice, the Patriots also welcomed back onto the field three other key members of their offense. Randy Moss, Julian Edelman and Laurence Maroney were all in action Thursday afternoon.

Moss had missed Wednesday's outing will an illness, while Edelman was making his first appearance at practice since injuring his foot Aug. 19, per ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss.

The return of Moss, Edelman and Maroney are obviously a boost for the Patriots as they prepare for Sunday's season opener against the Bengals. Injuries have been a big part of the team's preseason, but it looks like the club is getting healthier as kickoff approaches.

The Patriots host the Bengals Sunday afternoon in their 2010 season opener.

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NFL Week 1: Edelman, Brady Listed On Patriots' Injury Report

The first injury report for the Patriots was released on Wednesday, and surprisingly, there was no Wes Welker. However, the list does include fellow wide receiver Julian Edelman, as well as "probable" veteran, Tom Brady, who is listed as having an ailing right shoulder. 

Did Not Participate in Practice
Julian Edelman - WR - Foot
Nick Kaczur - T - Back
Laurence Maroney - RB - Thigh
Randy Moss - WR - Illness
Terrence Wheatley - CB - Foot


Full Participation in Practice
Kyle Arrington - CB - Groin
Ron Brace - DT - Ankle
Tom Brady - QB - Right Shoulder
Jermaine Cunningham - LB - Ankle
Aaron Hernandez - TE - Knee
Myron Pryor - DE - Knee
Matt Slater - WR - Hamstring

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