The Bengals are coming off two consecutive losing seasons. That’s a new thing for the team during the Andy Dalton-A.J. Green era during which the Bengals have made five playoff appearances.
When you take a look at this year’s schedule, it’s not a cake walk. In fact, there are many tough contests.
Week 1: Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts
Week 2: Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
Week 3: Cincinnati Bengals at Carolina Panthers
Week 4: Cincinnati Bengals at Atlanta Falcons
Week 5: Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals
Week 6: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
Week 7: Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs
Week 8: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cincinnati Bengals
Week 9: BYE WEEK
Week 10: New Orleans Saints at Cincinnati Bengals
Week 11: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
Week 12: Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals
Week 13: Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals
Week 14: Cincinnati Bengals at Los Angeles Chargers
Week 15: Oakland Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals
Week 16: Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
Week 17: Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers
It’s nearly impossible to guess which games will be wins and losses as there’s a lot of time between now and the start of the season and the picture of what the Bengals will be in 2018 is not yet clear.
Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson seems really confident in this year’s squad though, so much so that he’s predicting a 10 win season.
I’m going 10-6.
It has all the scent of a combination of 2009 and 2011. A revived quarterback with a rejuvenated running game, revamped offense and re-shuffled offensive line paired with a veteran defense and an experienced, proven D-coordinator. Plus, they play 14 games at 1 p.m. and we know the prime-time narrative.
The eight games before the bye are brutal, no question. Back-to-back games on the road at playoff teams in Atlanta and Carolina. Another one a few weeks later in Kansas City. Home game against AFC North champ Pittsburgh and the home opener against a Ravens team that was, well, we all know how close they were to the playoffs.
But the Bengals defense has a chance to set a tone. The opener is against the Colts’ new coaching staff and a rusty Andrew Luck. Of the other seven offenses they play before the bye, only three finished higher than 19th last season and one of those, the Chiefs’ Partrick Mahomes, is a first-year starting quarterback.
Let’s start with the “revived quarterback” line. Do I think Andy Dalton is going to be improved this season? Sure. Is he revived? I’m not sure. In what way would he be revived? Because he has a new coach? OK...
Now onto the proven defensive coordinator part... Do I think Teryl Austin is going to help the Bengals? Absolutely. I think change was desperately needed for the defense and Austin is going to provide just that. But Paul Guenther isn’t necessarily any less proven. He might even be more proven.
Playing 14 games at 1 p.m. though is CLUTCH. How real is the primetime narrative? I guess we’ll find out due to the Bengals’ lack of primetime games this season. The Bengals’ only primetime game is Week 2, the home opener against the Ravens. The only other game not at 1 p.m. is against the Chargers, which is at 4:05 p.m. ET.
But if you’re asking me to choose 10 games the Bengals will win, I really couldn’t. I’d say the Colts, one Ravens game, the Dolphins, the Buccaneers, both Browns games, the Broncos, the Raiders and optimistically, one Steelers game. That’s nine and I feel like that’s quite optimistic. I’m not as confident as I’ve been in past years that the Bengals will beat the Browns twice. Who knows if the Bengals can beat the Steelers. I want to be hopeful. I’m typically really hopeful. But after back-to-back losing seasons, I’d feel confident in saying the team will win eight games; not 10.
How about you? Do you see the Bengals winning 10 games with that schedule?