The Cincinnati Bengals have very quietly made the playoffs the last two years. Squeaking in as a wild-card both seasons, the Bengals were quickly eliminated by the Houston Texans, and thus probably why most fans still don’t take them seriously.
However, fans should start taking them seriously, because they’re not going anywhere. With one of the league’s brightest young quarterback-wide receiver combos, and an extremely solid defense, the Bengals are here to stay.
But what’s the missing piece? Cincinnati, while they’ve made huge strides as a franchise, is just not there yet.
It’s certainly not the defense. Their defensive unit is one of the best in league, even though they don’t get credit for it. In 2012 the Cincinnati-D finished in the top-10 in three major statistical categories – points allowed per game, yards allowed per game, and forced fumbles. If you were lucky enough to snatch them up in fantasy, you know what I mean…
The missing link for the Bengals seems to be on offense, and specifically in the play-making department. A.J. Green is top-tier, and Jermaine Gresham is star on the rise, but after that, there isn’t a ton of talent at skill positions. BenJarvis Green-Ellis is a good running back, but certainly not a ‘game changer.’
I liked where the team’s head was at when they were rumored to be going after Reggie Bush. A Bush-like player would be just what the doctor ordered for the Bengals. A versatile back who could be a change of pace from Green-Ellis, while catching passes out of the backfield at the same time. It would only add to the matchup nightmares that defenses already encounter when they take on the likes of Green and Gresham.
Cincinnati should being searching long and hard to find a player of that caliber in the upcoming draft. Most experts have them going with a defensive selection in round one, so we’ll have to see how soon after the team targets a play-maker for their offense.
Will just one player make the difference for the Bengals in 2013? No, but they need to start adding parts, and the more explosive they can become on offense, they better chance they’ll have of making it to the next round of the playoffs.
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