Much of the hype around the Super Bowl was that we were going to see the best offense play the best defense on a neutral site. Put aside the fact that the Broncos were out coached and Seattle came in with just about a perfect game plan and realize that the Seattle defense is really amazing. In a league that is dominated by passing numbers, Seattle came in and dominated the game with big hits and perfect execution.
The Seahawks were able to control the line of scrimmage without sending extra bodies at Peyton Manning and in turn were able to blanket cover the secondary leaving Peyton with little to no option to throw. All while breaking down the pocket and making Manning uncomfortable.
Sure, the Seattle offense played really well, but they were going to win that game even if they had to settle for field goals the whole game. The great defense trumped the great offense on the biggest stage.
Now, take our Bengals. Sure, they don't have the kind of talent that Seattle does on the defensive side of the ball, but they do have a good core of players to build around. The Bengals finished the season as the number one defense in the AFC even with two of the top defenders on IR.
Is Cincinnati a couple of pieces away from having a dominating defense like that of Seattle? I think so. A healthy Leon Hall and Geno Atkins makes the defensive squad significantly better. If the Bengals are able to improve a little in the secondary and pressure the quarterback like the 2012 season, this squad could be pretty scary.
We also have to think about what we may have lost with Mike Zimmer leaving (if anything). I have a lot of faith in Paul Guenther towing the line for the plan that was put into motion by Zimmer. Look at what Guenther was able to do with Rey Maualuga this season and Vontaze Burfict over the last two. Imagine if he can make the same kind of impact on other young players like Dre Kirkpatrick.
So if the Bengals can improve upon last seasons top spot in the AFC, could the defense carry the torch for the offense? A lot of pressure would be lifted from a QB who I won't name here if the defense plays as dominating as I think they could be.