- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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A weekly analysis of the New England Patriots’ quarterback play.
Rewind: After attempting just nine passes before halftime of the Patriots' 30-23 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, Tom Brady finished 20-of-31 for 316 yards and two touchdowns. The Patriots established the running game early and Brady was especially sharp in the play-action game. It was probably his best performance of the season.
Fast-forward: The Bengals, under coordinator Mike Zimmer, have one of the better defensive lines in the NFL. It's a tough test for the Patriots' offensive line, which is coming off its best game of the season. If the line gives Brady time, he could be throwing against a banged-up secondary.
Streak on the line: Brady has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 52 straight games, which is the longest active streak in the NFL and the second-longest streak behind Saints quarterback Drew Brees (54). If he throws at least one touchdown pass Sunday against the Bengals, he can tie Brees' record when the Brees-led New Orleans Saints visit the Patriots on Oct. 13.
Welcome back, Amendola? The chemistry between Brady and receiver Danny Amendola was evident in the season opener, but Amendola has been sidelined since that game with a groin injury. He is on course to return Sunday in Cincinnati, barring an unexpected setback, which will give Brady a top option to target.
Prediction: Brady plays another game of mistake-free football and fires at least one touchdown pass, setting up what will be a top storyline in Week 6 against the Saints.