The Cincinnati Bengals are not a top-ten defense, according to Pro Football Focus' Nathan Jahnke (via ESPN In$ider). WHAT?! If the Bengals don't have a top-ten defense, then what? 7-9? 8-8? Reliance on an offense that still hasn't earned our trust?
And who in the hell is better than my Bengals, shouts fans in unison. Seattle takes the cake and until people stop being enamored by them (and their head coach), they'll acquire unconditional love by experts -- so unconditional that the Seahawks could cheat on their wives and their wives would say, "it's alright. You needed the release." Following them are the Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers.
Then you have the Bengals, ranked 11th.
The Bengals are yet another team that will see their top two players return from injury. Defensive tackle Geno Atkins had 78 pressures in 2012, which was the second most for any defensive tackle in a season since 2007. He was missed dearly this past season. Cincy also gets back Leon Hall, one of the league's best slot corners, who allowed 0.65 yards per coverage snap from the slot. That put him second best in 2012 before he missed time last year as well. A number of other well-known players are mixed in among the starting lineup. Vontaze Burfict, Carlos Dunlap, Adam Jones and Reggie Nelson will all make a sizable impact. Still, the losses of Michael Johnson, James Harrison and Chris Crocker will hurt them, and there are some players who will need to step up in 2014.
Johnson, a big loss... yes. Crocker, maybe. Harrison, no. The ranking is further broken down per unit. Cincinnati's secondary ranks sixth in the league, with linebackers ranked tenth, edge rushers 18th and the interior line 18th.