One of the bones that Bengals fans love to pick revolves around predictions from many (though not all) NFL insiders that the Bengals will finish third in the division. Third. No playoffs for you. For the love of god, the team that swept the division and wasn't expected to be much better than the Cleveland Browns heading into the 2009 season, giggled when Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cleveland had to wipe their gluteus maximuses with four-ply toilet paper (I'm nice guy) after losing to a team that went on an eight-game losing streak to start 2008 and finished with a third digit on their final record (I'm all about epic run-on sentences).
The Cincinnati Bengals went undefeated. Yet, some call it a fluke. Others find a way to quickly demote the Bengals in 2010 projections. I mean, it's the Bengals. Which NFL Insider is going to label the Bengals as repeat winners when they haven't been repeat division champions since I was four years old? And we're literally including the strike-shortened 1982 season.
Now, granted, most of the Bengals will finish at .500 talk was based on a rough schedule and well before the team signed Terrell Owens. And while said projections haven't really been updated with the modern flare of awesome revisions with sparkling fireworks, many NFL insiders are rethinking the Bengals.
Now, that being said, Pete Prisco is our pal. He believes, without a doubt, that the Bengals will revisit the playoffs this year.
That 2009 Bengals team won the AFC North, swept the division opponents, and made the playoffs for the first time since 2005. Yet in most preseason publications, the Bengals are not getting any consideration to repeat.
"I think it's because we're the Bengals," Palmer said. "It's been negative around here for so long. There is a kind of negative feeling when you talk about the Bengals. They expect us to be that team again. Don't judge this team by our history as an organization. Judge this one on the team that went out and won a division, and then go better. We're better than we were last season."
Correction: They are significantly better.
Duplicating their run through the AFC North won't be easy, but this Bengals team is clearly better than the one that ended the 2009 season with a disappointing playoff loss to the New York Jets. Most preseason picks have the Baltimore Ravens as the favorite to win the division, with Pittsburgh second.
Third for the Bengals? Does anybody pay attention to this team?