Buy or Sell: The Bengals will win more than 8.5 games in 2013, which is their over/under.
Josh K. Buy. If having one of the best rosters during the Marvin Lewis era isn't convincing enough, look at the schedule. Only five opponents on this year's schedule went to the postseason last year and seven had a losing record.
Anthony C. I'll buy it. I'll admit that if you had asked me this question during the team's snooze through the initial parts of free agency, I wouldn't have said the same thing. But, they drafted well and ended up doing some things to help their team with off-the-street guys.
Jason G. Buy. The Bengals have one of the most talented teams I can remember. I think the number of 8.5 is fairly low for this team, to be honest, and I think the Bengals can play with any team in the NFL right now.
Josh K. But then I hate to bring it up. A full season is a long time, so is training camp and preseason. Should we disregard the elephant in the room if that elephant is named injury?
Jason G. I don't even want to think about serious injuries, to be honest. lol
Buy or Sell: Andy Dalton is the most irreplaceable player on this roster.
Jason G. Sell. While losing Andy Dalton would be a massive blow to this team, I personally think the most irreplaceable player on the roster is A.J. Green. Green represents the offense's biggest weapon and I think with Green catching passes and BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard in the backfield, as well as the rest of the talent at wide receiver, either John Skelton or Josh Johnson could play well enough at quarterback. Losing Dalton, would still hurt, though.
Josh K. Buy. Look at who would replace him. John Skelton, Josh Johnson, maybe Zac Robinson? A.J. Green becomes irrelevant if he doesn't have someone getting him the football.
Additionally opposing defenses will pack the line of scrimmage, making the running game far more difficult to produce, forcing the game on the shoulders of backup quarterbacks that are arguably not backup material.
Anthony C. Absolutely buy. For the reasons that Josh mentioned above. Fans may not think that Andy Dalton is the best player on the team, but he certainly is the most important. You can just find guys that can throw around 25 touchdowns a year anywhere.
Buy or Sell: The Bengals, on paper, are the team to beat in the AFC North right now.
Josh K. Sell. The Baltimore Ravens have that title as the Super Bowl champions and until the Bengals five-finger death punch them into second place, the Ravens are absolutely the team to beat.
I could offer a cliche Rick Flair "woo" while I'm at it.
Jason G. Buy: Just on paper, with the amount of players the Steelers and the Ravens lost, and with the talented added and retained by the Bengals in free agency and the draft. I think the Bengals have the most talented roster in the AFC North. Whether that transfers to wins on the field is a whole other topic, though.
Anthony C. Sell. They just aren't there yet and though they are a team to fear in the AFC, they have to make some postseason noise for once. Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio did say recently that they have the second best roster in the NFL, behind the San Francisco 49ers, so take that how you like from a guy who has constantly bashed the franchise.
Buy or Sell: Marvin Lewis holds the Bengals back at times and a head coach like John Harbaugh or Mike Tomlin could have taken this Bengals team deep into the playoffs.
Josh K. Buy. Though I'm not necessarily reflecting on those two coaches, Lewis' biggest roadblock remains the postseason proving grounds. Lewis might be one of the best at rebuilding a team, but he's still unable to break through the postseason roadblock.
Anthony C. Buy. For all of the good things that Lewis has done for the Cincinnati Bengals, there still are some on-field head-scratchers that he displays. I still think that Lewis has done more than most coaches could with Mike Brown's mode of operation. The next couple of years are not only crucial for the franchise, but for Lewis' legacy as an NFL head coach, given the fact that this roster is truly "his".
Jason G. Buy: I like Marvin Lewis and I think he's done amazing things for the Bengals, but I think he struggles at times, especially when it comes to taking the Bengals beyond the first round of the playoffs. Lewis seems to struggle with inventiveness, creativity and clock management when it really matters. I think the best case scenario with the Bengals would be to have Lewis as a general manager and someone else calling the shots on the field.
Josh K. I don't know about general manager. Maybe a lead/head scout would be more accurate. Lewis doesn't do most of the current duties of a general manager, like negotiating contracts. Plus Lewis probably would prefer coaching anyway. But I challenge the necessity of inventiveness and creativity. He doesn't call nor develop the plays on offense, defense and special teams. Clock management I'll buy though.
Buy or Sell: Mike Brown hasn't given up some control of the team in recent years, he has just seen the light and has been better at managing a football team.
Josh K. Still prospecting. I believe that Mike Brown has been far more open-minded from the opinion of others, even deflecting the future of the quarterback position to his coaches. I also think the influence of guys like Lewis and Duke Tobin are greater today then they have ever been. I have nothing to substantiate the belief, but I do believe he's giving up control. But I also think it could just be a perception that he's just allowing more to influence the team's overall development.
Anthony C. Meh...not sure on this. I can see that he has relinquished some things and trusted people like Lewis, Duke Tobin and the Blackburns. Still, the teams boasts one of the lowest amount of employees in the front office and scouting staff in all of the league and Lewis hasn't been granted his request for an indoor practice facility. Again, I think Brown has made strides in trusting others' opinions outside of his own, but there's more to be done to completely modernize this franchise.
Jason G. That's a hard one to answer because nobody really knows. Whatever has happened, though, I'm happy it has. I think maybe it's a little bit of both. I think Brown has done a better job at running a football team and maybe Lewis has wrestled away a little control over the last decade.