The Bengals went 52-27-1 from 2011-15 with five consecutive playoff appearances. Not that anybody noticed. An 0-5 postseason record tends to make people disregard you as a contender.
After sinking to 6-9-1 last season, the Bengals truly are forgotten heading into this season. Cincinnati, though, doesn’t mind the role of underdog. Although they are young, the Bengals believe they have enough talent to rebound rather than rebuild.
The Bengals hope for better luck in the health department this year. Receiver A.J. Green missed six games last season, and tight end Tyler Eifert was out for six. They started only four games together. Andy Dalton missed his favorite targets, especially in the red zone, as he threw a career-low 18 touchdowns.
The Bengals lost five games by five points or less and arguably have as much talent as any other team in the division, so they might be closer to returning to the playoffs than most think.
Biggest positive change: The Bengals drafted speed, speed and more speed. Receiver John Ross’ 4.22 broke the combine record. Jordan Willis was the fastest defensive lineman, and Jordan Evans the fastest linebacker. Running back Joe Mixon and safety Brandon Wilson were the fastest among prospects at their positions, too. Ross and Mixon, the team’s top-two picks, give Andy Dalton two more weapons to go with A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert.
Biggest negative change: The Bengals offensive line wasn’t good last season, and it lost its two best players – Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler – in free agency. That leaves former first-round pick Cedric Ogbuehi, who was benched at right tackle…
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