ESPN’s Bill Barnwell, God bless him, dug deep and found a way for all 32 teams to come out on top.
As it turns out, the Bengals’ only chance to defy the odds in 2019 lies with rookie head coach Zac Taylor.
Here’s what Barnwell said:
Chance to win Super Bowl LIV: Less than 0.1%
Chance to make the playoffs: 11.2%
Caesars Super Bowl odds: +12500
For the teams ranked 32nd to 30th, a quarterback is the wild card who might propel the team to unexpected heights. For the Bengals, that X factor is 36-year-old Zac Taylor, their new coach. Taylor might very well just be a replacement-level coach who happened to fall into a seat next to Sean McVay, but remember that the Rams were listed at +10000 to win the Super Bowl two years ago before they went 11-5 and won the West.
McVay breathed life into a moribund franchise dulled by years of mediocrity under Jeff Fisher. Could Taylor do the same for a Bengals team that collapsed into anonymity in the last days of Marvin Lewis?
I’d feel more confident if the Bengals were healthier, given that the NFL’s fifth-most injured team from 2018 already has lost rookie first-round offensive tackle Jonah Williams (shoulder) for the year and has both tackle Cordy Glenn(concussion) and wide receiver A.J. Green (ankle) out indefinitely. It might be better to hope for a drastic improvement from the defense, which faced the toughest schedule of opposing offenses in the league last season and returns one of the league’s deepest lines. Every team ahead of the Bengals in the AFC North has red flags; the Bengals are no exception, but their core is underrated and has a higher ceiling than most remember.
For Bengals fans who have been following the team, it is no secret that Zac Taylor has made upgrades around the franchise. The key is for Talyor to continue to make strides both on the field and in the locker room to maximize the performance.
It’s nice to see a member of the national media referring to the Bengals as “underrated,” and having a “higher ceiling than most remember.”
While it’s highly unlikely that the Bengals could win the Super Bowl this year, Taylor still has a chance to turn this team into a contender in the next few years.