Head Coach: Marvin Lewis
2012 Record: 10-6-0 (2nd in AFC North)
New Players: LB James Harrison; QB Josh Johnson.
Gone Elsewhere: QB Bruce Gradkowski; CB Nate Clements; S Chris Crocker; LB Manny Lawson; DL Pat Sims.
Offense: The Bengals will have Andy Dalton back at quarterback following a decent second season in which he passed for 3,669 yards with 27 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Josh Johnson is the backup this season.
|QB Andy Dalton|
The wide receivers are led by A.J. Green, who had 97 receptions for 1,350 yards and eleven touchdown grabs. Mohamed Sanu (16, 154, four TD) or Marvin Jones (18, 201, one TD) could be the other starter. Andrew Hawkins (51, 533, four TD) is listed number-two (behind Green) on the depth chart, but could start as well. The tight end is Jermaine Gresham, who had 64 receptions for 737 yards and five touchdowns.
Up front on the line is center Trevor Robinson, guards Travelle Wharton and Kevin Zeitler and tackles Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith.
|Bengals sack leader Geno Atkins|
In the 4-3 set, Cincy has Domata Peko and Geno Atkins (12 1/2 QB sacks) at defensive tackle with Carlos Dunlap (six sacks) and Michael Johnson (11 1/2 sacks) at the ends. Defensive End Wallace Gilberry added
6 1/2 sacks as well. Rookie Margus Hunt (SMU) will get a chance to play as well.
The linebackers include Rey Maualuga in the middle while manning the outside backer spots are Vontaze Berfict and free agent James Harrison, who has been a Pro-Bowl player with the Pittsburgh Steelers for nearly a decade.
The defensive backfield has corners Leon Hall and Terence Newman, who each had a pair of interceptions last season, while Taylor Mays and Reggie Nelson (three picks) are the safties.
OUTLOOK: Back-to-back playoff appearances for the Bengals has momentarily removed Head Coach Marvin Lewis from the "hot seat" discussion entering this season, but the team would like to advance past the wild card round if they get back to the post-season again.
With Dalton and Green combining for big plays and the running game remaining consistent, the offense should be pretty solid once again in 2013 after averaging 24 points per game a year ago.
The defense is good and should continue to perform that way again this season. The pressure on opposing quarterbacks is outstanding, evidenced by the 51 sacks last year, which was third in the NFL. Cincinnati also ranked eighth in scoring defense, allowing 20 points per game.
As long as they play mistake free football (as has been the case the last two seasons) then expect the Bengals to be in the thick of the AFC playoff hunt again. They would like to win the AFC North for the first time since 2009 this season, but it won't be easy with defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore looming large in the division.
A 9-7 record is likely with a rugged schedule facing the team, but don't be surprised if the Bengals are a playoff football team once again.
Sept. 8- at Chicago
Sept. 16- vs. Pittsburgh
Sept. 22- vs. Green Bay
Sept. 29- at Cleveland
Oct. 6- vs. New England
Oct. 13- at Buffalo
Oct. 20- at Detroit
Oct. 27- vs. NY Jets
Oct. 31- at Miami
Nov. 10- at Baltimore
Nov. 17- vs. Cleveland
Nov. 24- BYE WEEK
Dec. 1- at San Diego
Dec. 8- vs. Indianapolis
Dec. 15- at Pittsburgh
Dec. 22- vs. Minnesota
Dec. 29- vs. Baltimore