AFC NORTH PREVIEW
August 17th, 2016
There’s reason to be concerned if you are Bengals fan as this team has digressed from a talent standpoint on the offensive side of the ball. Never will it be permissible to replace Mohammed Sanu and Marvin Jones with Brandon LaFell. If Tom Brady couldn’t make him a viable number two WR, there should be concern about what Andy Dalton could do. Thankfully A.J. Green and the running may all that may be needed, but this offense is super boring, and super predictable, and will struggle mightily in the end-zone.
Much like the Baltimore defense all the usual suspects are healthy and ready to go. Trouble maker Vontaze Burfict lead a star studded cast including Adam Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick, Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap and Karlos Dansby through the AFC North. This is likely the best defensive unit in the division, but it’s plausible that the offense will leave them in several bad sports throughout the season. With this defense the Bengals will have a chance in every game.
Rey Maualuga lead’s a LB group that has some clear holes that will need to be addressed. He’s in the middle of the defense for a reason, and he will be expected to lead. He’s easy to overlook, because of all of the loud personalities on this defense, but the Bengals will need him healthy and firing to make a run.
Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard have to take over games in the third and fourth quarters, and if they don’t this team has no hope. They struggled to do this last season, and it eventually caught up with them, but this season, they don’t have the same passing game backing them up. A 60/40 split running to passing should be expected and is necessary should this team want to make a legit playoff run.
Tyler Eifert could be the team’s saving grace on offense. He is almost an impossible matchup for faster LBs, and is a size miss-match for cornerbacks. He could very well be 2nd on the team in targets, and will be first in some weeks. Think Jason Witten, but with red-zone presence. Easily a top TE here, and you should gobble him up, especially in auction drafts.
Aside from the Browns, who are barely a team, the Bengals have an extremely tough road schedule, including trips to Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Dallas, New England, New York Jets and New York Giants. Their home schedule is a bit softer, but this slight imbalance will catch up to them. Offensively they don’t have it, and this not a deep team equipped to handle injuries. 8-8 is not what Bengal nation wants to hear, but don’t be fooled the talent on this team is compatible with that record.
The Cincinnati Bengals are a -2.0 point Road Favorite in week 1 vs. the New York Jets with the OVER/UNDER set at 42.0. Get all of your NFL Week 1 odds.