But this Cincinnati team is different. They have a fearless leader in Joe Burrow and a coaching staff that makes smart adjustments.
Let’s take a quick look at last season.
The Bengals lost their season (and home) opener to the Steelers in wacky fashion, losing long snapper Clark Harris to injury then missing an extra point that would’ve put Cincinnati ahead with two seconds left in regulation and missing a 29-yard field goal with under four minutes remaining in overtime.
The story of the game, though, was T.J. Watt (one sack, one interception, three tackles for a loss) dominating La’el Collins and Cincinnati’s o-line. But that shouldn’t be as big of an issue this year with Orlando Brown Jr. on the left side and Jonah Williams on the right.
The Bengals would, of course, beat the Steelers in a rematch in Week 11.
Cincinnati lost in Week 5 to the Ravens on a game-winning field goal, but turned around and beat Baltimore on back to back weeks at the end of the regular season and in the first round of the playoffs.
In Week 8, the Bengals lost badly to the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football, with Myles Garrett (1.5 sacks) doing the damage this time around. Again, the investment in the o-line should make that much less of a matchup nightmare.
The Bengals easily handled the Browns in Week 14, winning 23-10 despite having to face Deshaun Watson in the rematch.
Now the Bengals have significantly improved their roster for the fourth straight year. Recent developments include:
- The offensive line is healthy again, plus they added Brown, the best lineman since Andrew Whitworth left town.
- Burrow has progressed to the point that, according to offensive coordinator Brian Callahan, he’s “more like a coach.”
- Sam Hubbard is become more of a threat to get to QBs.
- The addition of Myles Murphy and the integration of Joseph Ossai should bolster the pass rush further.
- The secondary got speedier and deeper with the additions of DJ Turner, Jordan Battle, Nick Scott, and the return of Chidobe Awuzie.
- Joe Mixon will carry a lighter load thanks to the presence of NFL-ready rookie running back Chase Brown.
With all that, can the Bengals go undefeated in the AFC North?
We talked about how the team will finish with former Bengal Pacman Jones:
You can also listen on iTunes or using the player below:
Now let’s hear from you:
What will be the Bengals’ record in the AFC North?
This poll is closed
2-4 or worse