Yes, Chad Johnson really did predict the Bengals to rebound 8-8. Is that possible? Now, if the team doesn't perform better during their individual match-ups, then it's all mute and there's no real point trying to decipher any sense of rebounding this season. We'll miss the playoffs, that's obvious. Why not take a few wins, while disregarding any influence of the team's first seven games -- and obviously, they'll have to wipe the slate clean on that. Take a look at the first seven games this season -- with records and notes. The first thing you should notice is that Bengals opponents have compiled a collective .651 winning percentage. No one has beaten the Titans and the Browns are the only team to beat the Giants. The Steelers are the class (best team, not referencing act) of the AFC North. The Browns are the only team, at this point, with a losing record of the seven Bengals opponents. And we totally played the Cowboys at the wrong time (aka, if we played them this weekend).
|Game||Opp. Record||Notes / Why We Lost|
|Bengals 10 @ Baltimore 17||3-3||Second best defense in the NFL. In many respects, the Bengals weren't ready to play. Palmer's timing with his receivers was off; producing one of his worst performances of his career. The game was lost after Chris Perry failed to convert fourth-and-one at Baltimore's 25-yard line allowing the Ravens to hold onto the ball for the game's final seven minutes, winning by a touchdown.|
|Tennessee 24 @ Bengals 7||6-0||Third best defense in the NFL. Heading into the fourth quarter, the Bengals were only down by 10 to the league's only undefeated team. Four plays into the fourth quarter, Kyle Larson had his punt blocked in the endzone and the Titans scored a touchdown and win 24-7.|
|Bengals 23 @ NY Giants 26||5-1||Fourth best defense in the NFL. Clearly the best game of the year, so far, by the Bengals offense taking the then-undefeated Giants into overtime; even forcing them to punt on their initial possession. Unable to convert a first down on their first overtime drive (aka, what are you thinking Bratkowski?), the Bengals lost after the Giants marched down the field setting up the game's winning field goal.|
|Cleveland 20 @ Bengals 12||2-4||Truly one of those games we expected to win, but late Sunday morning it became known that Palmer wouldn't play after injuring his elbow early against the Giants. The Bengals defense allowed 17 points in the fourth quarter, and Fitzpatrick was intercepted with 14 seconds left in the game. The Browns won by a touchdown and a two-point conversion even though the Bengals held the lead going into the fourth quarter.|
|Bengals 22 @ Dallas 31||4-3||With more than seven minutes left in the ball game, the Bengals failed a two-point conversion to tie the game at 24. The defense allowed the Cowboys to go 11 plays, 80 yards in 5:47 ending with a 15-yard Patrick Crayton touchdown to put the Cowboys up nine points with under two minutes left in the game.|
|Bengals 14 @ NY Jets 26||3-3||With eight minutes left in the ball game, the Bengals were only down by six points (20-14). The Jets went on a 10-play drive for 59 yards in 6:18. Even though they missed the two point conversion, the Jets were up 26-14 with just over two minutes left in the game.|
|Pittsburgh 38 @ Bengals 10||5-1||Top rated defense in the NFL. The score doesn't tell the story. With eight minutes left in the game, the Bengals were only down by seven (17-10). Then the Steelers took three possessions and scored touchdowns in their effort to run up the score.|
Of our seven losses, four have come against the league's top-four defenses. And in every game, except for the Titans, the Bengals were within one touchdown of winning or tying their respective ball game. Oh-and-seven is oh-and-seven, no matter how you spin it. The opening schedule was brutal.
The next nine weeks represents only two games against winning-record teams, all compiling a combined .481 winning percentage -- that's a .170 drop off; an easier schedule. I don't predict these games so much as I categorize them as Good Chance, Decent Change, Little Chance and No Chance. Good chance basically means we have as good a chance to win as any (aka Palmer returning), whereas decent chance is like questionable on the injury report. Little chance means we win only because the opposition doesn't come with their "A game" (or turns it over a ton) while No Chance is self-explanatory.
|Opponent||Opp. Record||Notes / Chances for Winning|
|Houston (away)||2-4||This is just for reasons of fate (look at 2002). Good chance.|
|Jacksonville (home)||3-3||Our Bengals offense struggles against good defenses like no other team. The Jaguars, however, aren't playing like the good defense they're known for. Through seven weeks (and six games), the Jaguars are 13th in points allowed (21.3) and 24th in total defense (340.5). This will be Jaguars rushing offense versus Bengals rushing defense. The teams that the Jaguars have lost to are the Titans, Bills and Steelers (all division leaders) with wins over the Colts, Broncos and Texans. Not a great proposition. Little to no chance.|
|Philadelphia (home)||3-3||The biggest win this season is a 15-6 win over the Steelers. Other than that, the Eagles have wins over unimpressive teams like the Rams and 49ers. They lost to the Cowboys, Bears and Redskins. Decent chance.|
|Pittsburgh (away)||5-1||Let's see. The Bengals had the score run up on them. Hines Ward ended Keith Rivers' season firing up guys like Chinedum Ndukwe. There might be more motivation for this game than any other this season. Obviously, to win the re-match, the Bengals will have to play well above their heads. Little to No Chance -- unless the Bengals come to play, then Decent Chance.|
|Baltimore (home)||3-3||Week one won't repeat itself. If speculation is true that Palmer will be back after the bye week, then he'll have two games under his belt, and the receivers he needed so desperately to perform during week #1 will be ready. Good chance.|
|Indianapolis (away)||3-3||The Bengals are rarely competitive against the Colts, even during the seasons they had a chance to win any game. Without a pass rush, Manning will pick the Bengals defense apart. No chance.|
|Washington (home)||5-2||Sixth best defense in the league. And our Bengals offense struggles against good defenses. Little to no chance.|
|Cleveland (away)||2-4||The Bengals haven't been swept by the Browns since 2002. You know what, forget about that fate thing against Houston. Good chance.|
|Kansas City (home)||1-5||Some consider the Chiefs the worst team in the NFL (or at least a close second behind the Lions). Good chance.|
I realize many of you hate it when I have an optimistic post. But what the hell. What do you guys think? Based on "Good Chance", the Bengals might not be 8-8, but maybe we can win more than lose during the final nine-week stretch.