What the Cincinnati Bengals Need to Do to Become a True Contender

By Ryan Heckman
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

After a deflating loss to begin the year, the Cincinnati Bengals have bounced back to win two straight. With victories coming over their divisional rival Pittsburgh Steelers and the NFC powerhouse — not at the moment — Green Bay Packers, the Bengals are looking good atop the AFC North.

Cincinnati has almost everything a true contender needs in the NFL. Andy Dalton has continued to improve as the franchise quarterback and looks better than ever this year, aside from a couple of miscues on Sunday. Dalton and his top target A.J. Green have looked nearly unstoppable, with Green being virtually un-coverable.

The defense has been pretty stellar thus far. Against Green Bay, the team scored on defense by way of a fumble recovery and return for a score by Terence Newman. The linebackers look as good as ever, and the defensive line is a force to be reckoned with. Cincinnati’s front seven are arguably the best in all of football.

So, what do the Bengals have to do in order to become a true contender? The answer lies in the back field.

The Bengals currently rank 20th in the league in rushing with just about 90 yards per game. With the type of talent they have on their roster, at the running back position, that cannot happen.

Here’s my biggest issue with Cincinnati: What’s the holdup in giving rookie running back Giovani Bernard the bulk load of the carries? BenJarvis Green-Ellis has averaged a miserable 2.8 yards per carry through three games, and let’s be honest, he doesn’t possess nearly the type of tools Bernard has.

Through three games, Bernard has only carried the ball 22 times but has totaled 110 yards and scored twice. In the receiving game, Bernard has caught six passes for 84 yards and a touchdown.

So, I ask you Marvin Lewis, when will Bernard get the ball on a more regular basis? The kid needs at least 15 touches per game whether through the air or on the ground. He moves the chains — it’s that simple! Bernard is consistent in gaining yards and scoring touchdowns.

Get Bernard the ball more, and you are a true contender Cincinnati. It’s that easy.

Ryan Heckman is a Senior Writer for RantSports.comFollow him on Twitter  @ryanmheckman, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.



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