Sportz Assassin -- I can't tell you how much I love fictitious names from those that provide commentary and opinion -- wonders if it's too late to save the season? Let's get one thing out of the way. We're heading into week #4. It's early. But here are the reasons I'm not concerned.
After New England, the Bengals hit the bye week. Which means we'll be healthier than we've been. We'll should have Rashad Jeanty, Ethan Kilmer and Tab Perry back. Chris Perry could return as early as the New York Jets game. Chris Henry returns just in time against Baltimore.
After New England, the Bengals play seven teams with a combined 4-17 record -- Chiefs (1-2), Jets (1-2), Bills (0-3), Cardinals (1-2), Rams (0-3), Browns (1-2) and Dolphins (0-3). Since Marvin Lewis was hired, the Bengals are 4-2 on prime time games; 2-1 on Monday Night (Denver: W 23-10, Indy: L 16-34: Baltimore: W 27-20), 1-1 on Sunday Night (Jacksonville: L 20-23, Miami: W 16-13) and 1-0 Thursday Night (Baltimore: W 13-7). They play San Francisco on Saturday Night football and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football. Outside the typical hard knocking division games, the Bengals have a very realistic shot at winning each game. And I'm not being a homer here. Am I? Maybe, a little.
A byproduct of health. Once the team regains its strength, nagging injuries for our secondary and offensive line, the team will start bringing stability in their roles. The Bengals will have Rudi Johnson and Chris Perry in the backfield soon after the bye week. Week nine adds Chris Henry to the league's best wide receiver tandem. The constant adjustment of linebackers, after the bye week, could just as easily be formed as it could be reformed. Bringing back a lot of our players means what? Improved special teams.
It doesn't appear the East will be in contention with any Wild Card spots. So, after three full games -- I know, THREE is a perfect sample size -- these teams have a leading edge on the Wild Card.
Ravens -- Currently own the head-to-head tie-breaker.
Titans -- We play week #12.
Texans -- Are they for real?
Chargers -- You have to expect they'll turn it around.
I understand SA's points. But the first three games is hardly a forecast for this team. Not because we're heading into week four. This team just has several things not going their way. Additionally, the other lesser-known weapons will return and the soften schedule in the second half, will gain confidence and a rhythm. As long as the Bengals can weather the storm in the first half of the season, I really believe they'll make a great run for a wild card spot. I ain't giving up yet.