2011 was a big turning point for the future of the Cincinnati Bengals. The first and second-round drafting of wide receiver A.J. Green and quarterback Andy Dalton respectively was the beginning of the road that the Bengals are hoping will eventually lead to the Super Bowl. In both 2011 and 2012, the Bengals were able to make playoff appearances, but they were not able to beat the Houston Texans in either game.
In both of those games, the Bengals defense were unable to stop Arian Foster in the rushing game, as he rushed almost 300 yards over the course of the two contests. They were however able to stop Matt Schaub last season from passing for a touchdown, and will be able to continue to do next season should they face them in the wild card game again.
The big problem that the Bengals had, and it was a problem in a number of their games during the 2012 season also, was the ability to get a decent offensive drive going. Dalton had a lot of early three and out’s, not to mention the fact that he could only muster 127 measly yards the entire game, 80 of those to Green.
This year however, the Bengals have a new look defense: A Jermaine Gresham and new tight end Tyler Eifert duo, a new running back who has a work ethic not often seen in today’s rookies, a rejuvenated offensive line and the return of the Bengals new WR2 Mohamed Sanu means that this potent offense should be able to make short work of any playoff defense that come their way in 2013.
Their big fall may come at the hands of the New England Patriots, a team who are now seasoned veterans of the two-TE system and are more than capable of stopping it. This may not be the Bengals’ year to play on the main stage, but that day will soon.
Super Bowl Chances: The Bengals will probably take the AFC North and get the first-round bye. If all goes accord to plan, they will make their first AFC Championship appearance since the 1988 season — but unlike that season, the new Bengals offense will not have matured enough to make the Super Bowl.
Simon Greene – Cincinnati Bengals Writer. Follow Simon on Twitter @simongreene88