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Bengals bold predictions revisited after 4 weeks

With one quarter of the 2015 NFL season in the books, we look back at the series of "Bold Predictions" made before the season to see if any of them look like legitimate contenders to become reality.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

As you may recall, during the preseason we posted a series of "Bold Predictions" for the Bengals’ upcoming season. Many of these predictions were just a bit too bold for many fans, who vehemently disagreed that such bold predictions could pan out.

Now that the season is one quarter through, we take a look back and see how these bold projections are faring. Do any of them seem to have a shot at becoming reality, or were they just too unrealistic?

Bold Prediction #1: Marvin Jones will outperform A.J. Green

This prediction was based on the premise that Jones would secure the No. 2 spot behind A.J. Green, that he's in a contract year, and that he historically gets more touchdowns on fewer receptions than Green.

Rec Yd Rec TD
A. J. Green 25 417 3
Marvin Jones 10 165 2

After three weeks Jones has not outplayed Green. Although Jones has secured the top spot on the team behind Green, and has produced the higher touchdown to reception rate as expected.

Quarter Season Grade: C- Low marks for clearly being behind Green on total output, but kudos for hitting on the premise that Jones would become the No. 2 receiver (over Sanu) and get more production (touchdowns) on fewer catches.

Bold Prediction #2: Andy Dalton will win the Super Bowl MVP Award

If there was one prediction that stirred the hornet’s nest, it was this one. Dalton, who is 0-4 in the playoffs, being prediction as an MVP of the Super Bowl was just a bit too bold for many to stomach.

To date, Dalton has completed 78 of 116 passes for a 67.2% completion rate. He also has 9 touchdown passes to only 1 interception, and holds a 123.0 quarterback passer rating, only behind Aaron Rodgers. And he has led his team to their first 4-0 start in a decade.

After four weeks this prediction seems like a real possibility. This team looks like it could be the best one in Marvin Lewis’ tenure in Cincinnati, and could make a run at a trip to the Super Bowl. Dalton is playing great with his overall pocket awareness, reads and throws. The offensive line is giving Dalton the time he needs to succeed.

Quarter Season Grade: A+ There is still time to go between Week 4 and the Super Bowl. But kudos for making such a bold prediction, which to date is looking like it holds a lot of potential.

Bold Prediction #3: Giovani Bernard will out-perform Jeremy Hill

While the Andy Dalton MVP prediction caused the most outraged objections, the Giovani Bernard prediction caused just about as much disagreement, although without the angst. It was pretty much seen as an egregious statement to suggest that sophomore slumping Gio would bounce back to outperform the rookie running back who led all NFL running backs in rushing yardage through the second half of the 2015 season. But what do the numbers show?

Rush Yards YPC TD Rec Yd Rec TD
Jeremy Hill 50 163 3.3 5 1 2 0
Giovani Bernard 53 297 5.6 1 12 75 0

After four weeks, Bernard is crushing Hill in total yardage 372 to 165. That’s more than double! 225 percent more, to be exact.

Bernard also has an impressive 5.6 yards per carry, compared to 3.3 for Hill, who is idling in BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Cedric Benson territory. While Bernard is clearly leading, he does not have total domination, as Hill does have the big touchdown advantage. Hill also has a big fumble advantage, or disadvantage.

Quarter Season Grade: A Gio’s big lead on overall yardage, and yards per carry give this prediction high marks. Hill’s big touchdown lead keeps this from being an A+.

Bold Prediction #4: P.J. Dawson will lead the team in tackles

This prediction was based on the assumption that the Bengals would do something very non-Marvin Lewis like, and play their best defensive players, regardless of experience. Typically the Bengals will sit their defensive rookies, regardless of draft status, but given the Burfict injury, and lack of elite quality in the linebacker group, the assumption was that Dawson would get his chance – much like Burfict received a few seasons ago.

And to that end, my prediction was totally off. The Bengals have decided to stick to their guns, and not let the young defensive player play. Although active for all four games, Dawson has been relegated to a very limited role and has one total tackle on the season, which is good enough for 22nd best on the team.

Quarter Season Grade: F

Bold Prediction #5: Tyler Eifert will be named to the Pro Bowl

At the time of the prediction, this one was perhaps the most palatable among Bengals’ fans. It was based on the assumption that the Bengals’ coaching staff wanted Eifert heavily involved in the offense.

And that’s exactly what has happened. After four weeks, Eifert has 16 receptions, 222 yards, and three touchdowns. Those numbers place Eifert among the top-10 NFL tight ends after four weeks.

Eifert’s current production is on pace for 888 yards and 12 touchdowns. Those totals would place him ahead of last year’s top tight ends Jimmy Graham, Greg Olsen, Jason Witten, Martellus Bennett, and Julius Thomas.

After three weeks, Eifert ranks seventh in receptions, eighth in yardage, and second in touchdowns among all tight ends. He seems on track to be seriously considered for a spot the Pro Bowl.

Quarter Season Grade: B+

As anybody who knows anything about Andrew Whitworth can attest to, being named to the Pro-Bowl is as much of a popularity contest as it is about quality. Although at the tight end position, Eifert is going to be able to generate numbers that can’t be ignored. At the quarter season mark, Eifert looks like a good bet for the Pro-Bowl – especially if the Bengals keep winning.