The Patriots offensive line had its way with the undersized Falcons defensive linemen last week in Atlanta.

Whether surging ahead to open holes for the running game or holding firm to protect Tom Brady the line dominated the physical battle in the trenches. The O-line pushed the Falcons around to the tune of 448 yards en route to the Patriots’ best offensive output of the year in a 30-23 win.

Today’s matchup provides an entirely different test.

The Bengals defensive line is built much differently than Atlanta’s. Think Ravens. Think Lions. Think Giants. Think matchup nightmare.

Historically such stout defensive lines have caused the Pats the most trouble with their size physicality athleticism and overall strength. Most recently the Lions embarrassed the Pats during the preseason as they had two sacks and seven quarterback hits.

The Bengals (51 sacks) trailed only Denver and St. Louis last season in getting to the quarterback. While off to a slow start in that department through the first four games this season don’t let that fool you. They’re still dangerous.

Carlos Dunlap (6-foot-6 280 pounds) and Michael Johnson (6-7 270) are handfuls as bookends at defensive end while two-time Pro Bowler Geno Atkins (6-1 300) and Domata Peko (6-3 322) take up the middle at defensive tackle.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick discussed Atkins on Wednesday and provided a perspective that was pretty colorful not to mention on target.

“This guy has some power rushes where he just takes linemen back those guards back and it just looks like they’re on roller skates” Belichick said. “He just walks them literally right back into the quarterback. He’s very quick. He can get the edge and work up or up-and-under on the guards. Then when they try to set deep or take those quick moves away from him he can turn those into power moves and collapse the pocket. He can ruin a game there’s no question the guy can ruin a game by himself.”
Logan Mankins will get to square off with Atkins as will Dan Connolly. The Bengals switch around their interior linemen based on which formation they opt to use.