With the 2017 season ending on two big wins for the Bengals by knocking the Detroit Lions and the Baltimore Ravens out of the playoffs, there’s optimism that with some changes to the culture in Cincinnati, the team could improve its record from the abysmal 7-9 that they had in 2017.
For context, under Marvin Lewis’ guidance, the Bengals have never registered more than two losing seasons in a row, and the last time that happened was 2007-08. Now the Bengals, at 7-9 after going 6-9-1 in 2016, will look to have a redemption year in 2018.
In 2009, the Bengals had that redemption year by going 10-6 after having two losing seasons in a row, adding six wins to their 4-11-1 record in 2008 before eventually losing in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
Now, ESPN has released win projections for all 32 NFL teams for the 2018 season. They have given the Bengals an over/under of 7.5 wins, which wouldn’t improve their record by more then a win if they reached eight wins in 2018.
Under 7.5 would match their record from 2017, and the Bengals would finish at 7-9 again, most likely missing the playoffs.
But, the Bengals showed some grit beating the Ravens and Lions down the stretch, and with Bill Lazor having a full offseason to work on his offense, as well as Teryl Austin breathing new life into the defense, I fully expect the Bengals to surpass the 7.5 wins that ESPN is predicting.
The Bengals could pick up wins from the Colts and Dolphins, get two wins from the AFC West, one win from the NFC South, split the Ravens, beat the Browns twice, and lose twice to the Steelers and still beat the 7.5 prediction that ESPN has.
If the Steelers lose Le’veon Bell, an aging Ben Roethlisberger could struggle with Cincinnati’s younger defense like we saw late in 2017, and the Bengals could split Pittsburgh too.
But what do you think? Will the Bengals surpass 7.5 wins or fall short? Let us know in the comments below.