The 2014 NFL season is upon us. While most media outlets and bloggers don't expect the Bengals to win a Super Bowl, they do expect Cincinnati to at least make it back to the NFL playoffs.
That's the case with Matt Grecco of Stampede Blue, who did his preview of the NFC and AFC North.
Using SB's Winning Stats formula (think Football Outsiders-type of breakdown), Grecco gives the Bengals a 91% of making the playoffs in the 2014-15 season.
When I ran these simulations there was one team that jumped off the page at me with how well the Winning Stats think they will play. That team? The Cincinnati Bengals. Yes, the Bengals, who haven't won a Playoff game since I was in the 3rd grade. My biggest concern with them is the loss of both coordinators, but they have the kind of schedule, and the talent, to make a run this year.
Winning Stats say the Bengals have over a 91% chance of making the Playoffs! Makes you think twice about them, eh? I don't believe that number is correct that high, but all this does is tell us there might be something we overlook when just looking at how good a team is, or how many wins they'll have. Again, this takes into account matchups, which certainly looks like the Bengals have a lot of favorable ones.
Frankly, the Bengals should be most people's pick the AFC North. They've got most of their roster back, while the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns have all undergone significant turnover after failing to win more than eight games last year.
Cincinnati is by no means a lock to make it to the playoffs, but they are is a known commodity, while the other three are relatively unknown at this point.