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Don Banks Predicts A Three-Win Season For The Cincinnati Bengals

Peter King of Sports Illustrated says three wins. Rick Reilly of says no wins. Josh Kirkendall of Cincy Jungle says undefeated season, baby. Let's face it, predictions are completely meaningless things, like political polls, designed to encourage debate and have a little fun. The reality is no one can accurately predict an NFL season -- and if they do, it's out of dumb luck, such as the unknowledgeable football fan in the family winning the college football bowl season poll (damn you pretty color-ed uniforms!).

How can a journalist or columnist support their prediction that's based on severe injuries to key players? They can't. How can a journalist or columnist adjust their prediction based on sheer luck (such as the ball rolling out of bounds on a game-determining fourth down play in which the offensive player had dead skin falling out of bounds as he recovered the football turning it over and losing by three points)? No dice. Who predicts a domed stadium collapsing due to the weight of heavy snow and ice, forcing the home team to play outdoors?

But you guys do a roster prediction. True. I'm totally vain in that regard (plus we feel that a "lock" helps paint a picture where the team is at). In the end it's discussion. So our goal here is to take where everyone views us and "remind them" how wrong they were (alternatively if they were right, we'll probably just drop the whole discussion anyway and whistle along as if nothing happened).

That beings said, here's another. Don Banks of Sports Illustrated echoes his partners prediction, giving the Bengals only three wins in 2011.

The Bengals don't often do things in conventional NFL fashion, even when they launch a rebuilding program. The Carson Palmer era ended messily, and so did the days of the Batman and Robin receiving duo, whose act lasted probably one year too long as is in Cincinnati. It's difficult to see anything really good coming out of the chaos that has prevailed this offseason in Bengal-dom, and it doesn't help that the lockout robbed Gruden, Dalton and Green of some much-needed preparation. I'm having a hard time finding a team in the AFC with more challenges headed its way in 2011 than the Bengals.

Of the predictions we're going through, Banks is the most reasoned (so far). For example, he writes that the Bengals need to find their offensive identity (fact!) and that Rey Maualuga is the player that needs to step up the most (fact!). Obviously our fandom nature demands an instinctual reaction that we'll win more; we're fans and we're picking apart obvious arguments that suggest our optimism of, say, 16-win regular seasons. At the same time, even though we may disagree with the wins he predicts, the argument as to why he reached his conclusion makes us understand where he's coming from.