2013 Cincinnati Bengals NFL Team Preview
Odds Courtesy of 5dimes
The Cincinnati Bengals haven’t won a playoff game in 22 years, but there’s good hope in Cincy that things-are-a-changing. The Bengals have now made back-to-back postseason appearances and have to be considered a real threat to take the AFC North outright over the Ravens this season. The Bengals’ hopes lie heavily on a third-year quarterback in Andy Dalton.
Dalton said he expects himself to be better than last year, and feels he’ll be better with each coming year. The Bengals will count on that, since they ranked 22nd in the NFL offensively last season. Still, Dalton is only the sixth QB in the Superbowl era to lead his team to postseason appearances in his first two NFL seasons.
Improvements from Dalton may come in the form of him developing more patience and better timing with his receivers. Many are also clamoring for him to throw it away more rather than take the long sack, but Dalton seems to desire to play it safe to avoid interceptions. A balance must be found.
Even with those improvements, the best thing the Bengals could do is continue to improve his offensive line. The team had two new starters on the OL last seasons and used three different centers. The run blocking wasn’t fantastic either, but served decent purpose when BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard needed short yardage.
The Bengals did send left tackle Andrew Whitworth to the Pro Bowl, but he had a knee injury which kept him off the field a lot last season. An offseason surgery should correct that, and Whitworth’s health will be instrumental in having an improved line.
Andy Dalton has very good receiving options, and the Bengals will look to utilize the strength of their QB and A.J. Green as much as possible. Green scored a TD in nine straight games last season, but struggled down the stretch, managing just one over the Bengals’ final six games.
Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones, Andrew Hawkins, Ryan Whalen and Jermaine Gresham are all options at WR for the Bengals, too, in addition to draftee Tyler Eifert. The Bengals will likely run a lot more tight end sets this year, to make use of Eifert, and to diversify Dalton’s attack. It’s yet unknown as to what the youngster can do with a lot of tight end sets, and since the Bengals aren’t yet true contenders, it is the time to shape and mold this young team.
The Bengals are a good young team and getting better, but NFL Oddsmakers don’t consider them a heavy threat to win the Superbowl, nor take the AFC. Even so, they are among the better-third of NFL teams at this point, and while no team outright states that their goal is anything less than to contend if anywhere near the cusp, the Bengals should reasonably set their sites on securing their first Playoff win in 22 seasons. That would be victory enough, and then build on that with another strong draft and free agency season, as the team shapes itself into a legitimate contender.
Be sure to check out Maddux’s picks for this NFL season, as we line our bettors pockets once again in big fashion.