After decades of disappointment, Bengals fans have the right to be skeptical. But all signs point to this year being a turning point in the history of the franchise. The team has loaded up on talent for years, and that talent is just now reaching its collective peak. And strangely enough, it seems that adversity and the departures of coaches and players have only made this team stronger.
After the loss of Hue Jackson, the offense actually has a good chance of taking a step forward under the slightly more conservative Ken Zampese. So you can expect a bit more bread and butter style, heavily leaning on running backs Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard in the run game and wide receiver A.J. Green. What's more is that both Green and quarterback Andy Dalton are in their primes, and the two have as good chemistry as any two players in the NFL. Meanwhile, the disastrous end to Hill's season may have been a good thing for him in the long haul-- the third year running back has shown a new sense of determination and feistiness so far this year. And the offensive line looks to be as cohesive as it's been in years.
On the other side of the ball, despite some unfortunate injuries and the Vontaze Burfict suspension, the defense is hungry, athletic and more disciplined. The free agent departures of Reggie Nelson and Leon Hall have only made the secondary faster and more athletic. And somehow, Geno Atkins seems to have gotten even better.
So just how will the aforementioned players perform? More importantly, how far will the team go? We offer our detailed predictions in the following video:
And you can listen to all 3 parts of our season preview in podcast form below: