By Justin Patrick @calling_allfans on July 31, 2014
The Cincinnati Bengals went 11-5 and won the AFC North in 2013. They then lost 27-10 in the divisional round of the playoffs to the San Diego Chargers. The Bengals haven’t won a playoff game since the 1990 season, and their coach Marvin Lewis is probably on the hot seat. There are still five reasons for Bengals fans to be excited for the 2014 season.
The Bengals play in the AFC North, a division that is up for grabs in 2014. The Steelers and Ravens have enjoyed pretty recent success, and both could be improved this season after missing the playoffs in 2013. The Browns are a perennial division doormat, but they could be improved in 2014 too, even without WR Josh Gordon. That being said, the Bengals are fortunate enough to play in a division with no clear favorite — a division they won in 2013.
True, they haven’t won a playoff game since 1990, but they have gone to the playoffs three straight seasons (four out of the last five) and won the division in 2013. A lot of teams in the NFL would take that, including a team in their own division. Plus, if the Bengals manage to not win a playoff game this season, head coach Marvin Lewis is probably out the door. He’s not a bad coach, but Bengals fans would probably welcome a change.
The Bengals' defense is talented — they ranked fifth in pass yards (209.0 YPG) and rushing yards (96.5 YPG) in 2013. Atkins is arguably their most important player. In 2012 he led the team with 12.5 sacks, but he missed seven games in 2013 after he suffered a torn ACL. On Tuesday the Bengals activated Atkins from the PUP list. He could be an integral part of why the Bengals finally win a playoff game in 2014.
Dalton is a good QB, just not great, mainly because he’s inconsistent. He’s taken the Bengals to the playoffs three straight seasons, but he has failed to win a playoff game. The Bengals ranked eighth in passing in 2013 with 258.5 YPG, but fans are still pleading with the Bengals to not give Dalton an extension. Either Dalton plays really well in a contract year or he’s gone after this season. Either way, Bengals fans should be excited.
Joey Muia of SteelNationGeneration, (now works for NFL Draft Diamonds), makes preseason picks and he’s been pretty accurate over the past five years. This season he has picked the Bengals to repeat as NFC North champions and then beat the Patriots, Broncos and defending Super Bowl champions, Seattle Seahawks to win the Lombardi Trophy. He may be crazy, but he’s been on point with his picks so this should at least give Bengals fans a little hope.
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