HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 07: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball away from pressure by J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans in the first half during their 2012 AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Reliant Stadium on January 7, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports put together an extensive Cincinnati Bengals season preview complete with record predictions, analysis and some well deserved praise of Jay Gruden. Some of the main points of the preview are outlined below.
- The prediction (which is done by Pete Prisco): 10 wins; 6 losses
- La Canfora does not believe Andy Dalton will experience a sophomore slump. In the NFL analyst world, he may be the only one. Still, his point is right on: Dalton went shot for shot with the Baltimore Ravens overcoming early mistakes, fearlessly leading a comeback against the touted defense, almost pulling out a victory, and he did it all without A.J. Green. He wasn't scared. His poise and maturity point not to a slump, but instead to major progression.
- History is not on the side of this team, and back-to-back postseason berths would be a drastic change from the historical pattern of the Cincinnati Bengals. As La Canfora says, "People will be waiting for them to stumble".
- It's a big year for both Jermaine Gresham and Jay Gruden. Gresham is poised for a big year and with his talent, he is absolutely capable of becoming a household name. Gruden could make the leap as well--from coordinator to head coach--if he can mirror the success he had in 2011.
- In a section titled "Insider's Take" is the following quotation:
"That's a scary football team. The quarterback will be even better and the WR is a total stud. There's some uncertainty in the running game and they may be a little suspect there, but that team is going to score some points. Defensively, they're OK, but they were only OK a year ago, and look what they did. They need a pass rusher, but the secondary is getting better."
The full preview can be read here.