The Bengals know they will have to slow down the Patriots run game Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium
New England has the league's seventh-ranked run offense at 126.7 yards a game. The Bengals, after allowing 170 last week in a victory at Pittsburgh, are ranked 20th at 113.3 a game.
The Patriots will want to run the ball and eat the clock to keep the Bengals off the field. NE has problems with its secondary and is worried about the Bengals high-powered pass offense.
And he comes in as the 16th all-time leading rusher -- a player whose accomplishments are not more fully appreciated by former teammates and fans now that he's out of town and no longer a negative force in a losing locker room.
"It was bad times back then," said Bengals right tackle Willie Anderson, who came into the league one year before Dillon and played with and blocked for him for seven seasons.
"He was competitive. We all were competitive. When you have a bad team and a running back who's putting up big yards, he's going to be in the limelight more. Now, everybody's getting the shine and attention because we're winning. Back in the day, a lot of attention went to him, and he let out his frustrations. It was some bad times, and they all came to a boil in '03."
The Bengals traded Dillon to New England in April 2004 for the 56th overall pick in the draft and took safety Madieu Williams with the choice.
Dillon has since won a Super Bowl title, set a Patriots franchise record for single-season rushing yards and moved into 16th place on the all-time rushing list with 10,598 yards.
"The only thing he needed was a championship ring, and he got it," Anderson said of Dillon when asked about the tailback's chances to get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. "For a guy to get 10,000 yards, and for him to start his career with the first six, seven seasons to rush for over 1,000, 1,100 yards, broke a couple of NFL records, the rookie record (246 yards vs. Tennessee in 1997), at one time the single-game record (275 vs. Denver in 2000), Think he's validated his point.
"And then taking a New England team that needed a running game, and (he) steps in and gets 1,600 yards and wins a championship. He's definitely a Hall of Famer."