Before you all go postal on me, this is actually a serious post. A Steelers fan did a similar thing on our site, Baltimore Beatdown, and I thought it might be interesting to do the same on the other teams in our division, the AFC North.
What I'm wondering, is that are there similarities between the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals that give the Bengals fans hope that they will return to the playoff bound team a few years ago, or are they in a true rebuilding mode? For the Ravens, they went from a playoff team in 2006 with a 13-3 record to the bottom of the barrel in 2007 at 5-11. All along, my frustration was that we had so many injuries in so many critical positions, that 2007 was an aberration and not the reality fo the future. That proved correct, when the Ravens stayed pretty healthy and returned to the playoffs, narrowly missing a chance at a Super Bowl with our third loss to the hated Steelers last year.
So then, were the injuries that the Bengals had to deal with the main reason they plummeted to new lows in 2008? Can they rebound in 2009 to a playoff contender? What changes have been made to confirm the way you feel? While no Bengals fan myself, I hate to admit it but you all had a great, A+ draft last month. When I heard that the Ravens traded up in the first round of last month's draft, I was praying that they would grab USC's Rey Maualuga, even though a LB was not high on their board. He is a beast and would have been the next great Ravens MLB under Ray Lewis' wing. Then when I saw you guys snatched him, I was devastated as now we will have to see him twice a year on the other side of the line of scrimmage. Despite his Combine issues and that disturbing shirtless video, Andre' Smith will be a great source of confidence on Palmer's blind side. Chase Coffman is also a pure receiving tight end, perhaps in the mold of a Dallas Clark.
All in all, I'm pretty sure you can leave the AFC North's basement to the Cleveland Browns, but how much higher can you go? Just interested in hearing your opinions and feel free to post a similar FanPost over at our site.