+ Joe Reedy with the Cincinnati Enquirer speculates that the Cincinnati Bengals could be Baltimore's opponent during the NFL Kickoff Opener this September.
With winning the Super Bowl, the Ravens will host the NFL Kickoff Opener on Sept. 5, which means the Bengals opening the season in Baltimore for the second straight year is a distinct possibility. The league loves marquee matchups and a division one between Ravens and Bengals or Steelers would make a lot of sense.
Sounds great. Probably won't happen though. The last time the Bengals opened the season against Baltimore on a national stage during a primetime event, the Bengals were destroyed 44-13, thanks to Baltimore outscoring Cincinnati 27-3 in the second half. We're sure the NFL and NBC will tuck tail and run from that thought.
More to the point Baltimore hosts the New England Patriots, Houston Texans, Green Bay Packers and even
Adrian Peterson the Minnesota Vikings, as Reedy noted. But the national NFL fan and the media loves the Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh rivalry. If not them, then let's bet the house on either Houston or New England (at least half the house).
+ Mocking the Draft filled out the rest of the first round following the Super Bowl. The Bengals are still drafting linebacker Arthur Brown, which means that they probably won't draft Arthur Brown. Free agency always dictates the NFL draft and that could be more consequential this year than any we can remember. However if the Bengals re-sign Thomas Howard, the urgent need to fill the position with bodies lessens. Though at some point however high-round linebackers will happen within the next two or three years, if not sooner.
+ The Cincinnati Bengals snapped the football 391 times on first and ten in 2012, averaging 5.3 yards per play and 65 resulting in a first down conversion. If you break down the pass/run ratio, the Bengals ran the football on 53.5 percent of their first and ten situations.
Call it a trend. The last time Cincinnati ran more than passed on first and ten was 2011. Before that, 2009. And before that, 2005. A good trend, indeed.
File that under meaningless statistic to blow away your bar buddies at the local drinking establishment or karaoke club. "Don't. Stop. BelievingthattheBengalshouldrunonfirstandten."
+ The Bengals also broke a streak of four seasons in which the team failed to generate a positive turnover differential for the season. Cincinnati generated 30 takeaways and 26 giveaways for a turnover differential of plus-four in 2012. That followed a net differential of zero (2011), negative eight (2010), zero (2009) and negative two (2008).
Sadly the Bengals turned it over in all but three games. On the other hand, Mike Zimmer's defense and Darrin Simmon's special teams forced a turnover during every game (combined), save for the 2012 regular season opener against the Baltimore Ravens. But as far as my delicate mind recalls, that didn't happen.