The 2-9-1 Cincinnati Bengals have clearly already turned their sights towards next season. After losing their fourth straight game to the 7-4 Miami Dolphins, the Bengals, without Joe Burrow and now Jonah Williams as well, will have little chance in their last few games.
They still have the 11-1 Steelers, Cowboys, Texans and Ravens on their schedule, so it’s going to be a brutal last month. Given the Bengals play, they don’t deserve to move up in anyone’s power rankings.
After going up 7-0 against the Dolphins, they let their composure get the best of them, sparking multiple brawls, one of which got Tyler Boyd ejected. It was an ugly game for both sides.
The Bengals don’t have much hope for any success this season with losses to Washington Football Team and the New York Giants in the last three weeks, but with Burrow planning on making a comeback, there still is some hope for the organization.
That said, let’s dive into where the team was ranked after a Week 13 loss and heading into the home streak of the season.
If Zac Taylor is to have a third season on the sideline in Cincinnati, he’d better hope decision-makers somehow missed Sunday’s 19-7 defeat to the Dolphins. The Bengals were an undisciplined mess during their seventh loss in the past eight weeks. Offensive struggles are to be expected with Brandon Allen starting in place of the injured Joe Burrow at quarterback, but this was a sloppy effort that doesn’t reflect well on the coaching staff. Cincinnati actually took a 7-6 lead into halftime, but the Bengals were badly outplayed from that point on, falling to 1-5 this season in games in which they have led after two quarters. It’s reasonable to think Taylor could be entering the season’s final four weeks on the hot seat.
Without Joe Burrow, they just can’t compete. It’s all about next year. Getting Burrow healthy this offseason is priority No. 1.
The Bengals are obviously overmatched in all of their final games. Can we learn something about Zac Taylor before season’s end that might lead to more confidence heading into 2021?
Brandon Allen left Sunday’s game with a chest injury. Maybe that means Ryan Finley gets a start next week. It doesn’t matter, the Bengals are unwatchable the rest of the season no matter who plays quarterback.
At this point, Taylor needs wins to instill some confidence and show that things are moving in the right direction. So far, the Bengals have four wins since Taylor became coach in 2019, and they need one victory to avoid their second straight two-win season. Whether it’s doing enough to keep his job or building momentum for 2021, Taylor could use a few wins to close his second year. — Ben Baby
The Bengals offseason will be spent getting progress report of Joe Burrow’s every move in his rehab from a torn ACL.