NFL Cincinnati Bengals

5 Irreplaceable Players For the Cincinnati Bengals During the 2013 NFL Season

1 of 6

Cincinnati Bengals Need These 5 Players to Step it Up in 2013

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

After a stellar season in 2012 with the overall record 10-6, nobody will be asking the Cincinnati Bengals “Who Dey”. In order for the Bengals to have a successful sequel and pick up where they left off, they will need these five invaluable players to keep the big orange machine going in 2013.

In one of the tougher divisions in the NFL, the AFC North has pretty much been owned by the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens. In 2013, however, the Bengals have the perfect opportunity to ambush the money-strapped Ravens and injury-prone Steelers to win their division.

While the Bengals have been impressive in moving past the Carson Palmer era, this team is still very young and will need its young playmakers to continue honing their skills.

During the 2012 season, the Bengals were such a good team because of how well rounded they were on both sides of the ball. Defensively, they were able to be consistent and went on to be ranked 7th in passing defense and 12th in rushing defense.

On the offensive side of the ball, once again, the Bengals were very balanced. They were ranked 17th in passing yards per game and 18th in rushing yards per game.

Coach Marvin Lewis has done a terrific job of turning this team into a consistent group of players, and if their five key players can continue producing at a high rate as expected the Bengals may have a sequel worth watching in 2013.

Daniel Chi is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @DanielChi24, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+

2 of 6

Carlos Dunlap

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off of signing a six-year, $40 million extension, defensive end Carlos Dunlap will be counted on to create havoc for opposing offenses. In 2012, Dunlap recorded 33 solo tackles, six sacks, four forced fumbles and one interception.

If the Bengals want to pick up where they left off defensively, they will need Dunlap to be an impact player to have a defense that can hang with the “Big Boys”.

3 of 6

Andre Smith

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Andre Smith is an outstanding offensive tackle, and the Bengals will need his “A” game. After agreeing to a three-year contract extension, the Bengals insured Dalton’s progress by bringing back their best offensive lineman to protect their young quarterback.

Although Smith has lapses in key moments of the game, he is unquestionably one of the best at his position in the NFL.

4 of 6

Leon Hall

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Cornerback Leon Hall has been a consistent player for the Bengals which is also a reason why the secondary has been making progress from streaky to consistent.

Hall doesn’t shock people with his impressive resume, but he has been the perfect corner for a team that has struggled defensively for quite some time. Hall is a great player who knows his part and plays it very well.

The Bengals will be counting on their veteran cornerback to pave the way for an improving secondary.

5 of 6

A.J. Green

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green has been a huge reason why Dalton has been so successful and why the Bengals offense has been consistently good over the past couple of years now.

Green is an once-in-a-lifetime type of player and impacts the game even if he is standing still. Green has re-ignited the wide receiver position since Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh were let go. After hauling in 97 receptions for 1,350 yards and 11 touchdowns, the Bengals cannot afford losing his production in order to be a threat in 2013.

6 of 6

Andy Dalton

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Third-year quarterback Andy Dalton has been a nice surprise since being drafted by the Bengals. Many critics doubted that he could translate to the NFL with his adequate arm strength and run a conventional offense in the pros.

In the past two years, Dalton has improved every single season. In his rookie year, Dalton threw 3,398 yards and tossed in 20 touchdowns. In his sophomore year, Dalton upped his passing yards to 3,669 and banked in 20 touchdowns.

In his third year, the Bengals will only be able to take a big step if Dalton does. If Dalton can continue improving, the Bengals are not far from knocking on doors of some of the elite teams in the NFL.