2014 Record: 10-5-1 (2nd in AFC North)
HEAD COACH: Marvin Lewis
New Players in 2015 - DL Michael Johnson; WR Denarius Moore; LB A.J. Hawk; DL Pat Sims; QB/WR Terrelle Pryor.
OFFENSIVE RANK in 2014 - 15th in NFL (348 ypg)
DEFENSIVE RANK in 2014 - 22nd in NFL (359.3 ypg)
Offense: Andy Dalton (3,398 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and 17 interceptions) returns to start at quarterback again this season and A.J. McCarron will be the backup.
Jeremy Hill emerged as the top running back for the Bengals last season, going for 1,124 yards (5.1 ypc average) and scored nine touchdowns. Gio Bernard (680, 4.0 ypc and five TD and 43 receptions for 349 yards and two TD) gives the team a strong second option in the backfield.
A.J. Green (69 receptions for 1,041 yards and six touchdowns) and Marvin Jones, who missed the entire 2014 season with injuries, will be the starters. Jones made 51 receptions for 712 yards and ten touchdowns in 2013.
Mohamed Sanu (56, 790, five TD), Brandon Tate (17, 193, one TD) and Denarius Moore (12 receptions with Oakland in 2014) will provide depth. The tight end is Tyler Eifert, who missed most of last season after making 39 catches for 445 yards and two scores in 2013.
The offensive line is made up of center Russell Bodine, guards Clint Boling and Kevin Zeitler and tackles Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith.
Defense: Carlos Dunlap (eight QB sacks) and Michael Johnson will play defensive end and the tackles will be Domata Peko and Geno Atkins (three sacks) up front in the 4-3 set.
Rey Maualuga is the middle linebacker while Emmanuel Lamur and Vontaze Burfict man the outside spots. A.J. Hawk comes over from Green Bay to give a boost to the linebacking unit along with reserves Marquis Flowers and Vincent Rey. Rookie linebacker Paul Dawson (TCU) will get a shot as well.
The secondary is solid, finishing third in the league with 20 interceptions last season. The corners are Leon Hall and Adam (Pacman) Jones (three interceptions) with Dre Kirkpatrick (three picks) also a strong corner man. The safeties are Reggie Nelson (four picks) and George Iloka, who had three interceptions.
OUTLOOK FOR 2015 - The Cincinnati Bengals are a consistent football team. Each of the last four seasons, they play well during the regular season and make the playoffs and then lay an egg and get chased in the first round.
Head Coach Marvin Lewis would love to see that trend change should his team make it back to the post-season once again this year.
The offense is decent and has balance with Dalton leading the way and A.J. Green his main target in the passing game. Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard give them a solid one-two punch in the running game and their line does a good job in both areas.
The defense was fair a year ago, down from recent seasons, but does enough to keep the Bengals in most games. They need to get after enemy quarterbacks more this year as they only had 20 sacks in 2014, which was the worst in the league.
Cincinnati should compete with Pittsburgh and Baltimore once again the rugged AFC North division, where they finished second a year ago after winning the division a year earlier.
The good but not good enough tag has to change if they want to be taken as serious contenders in the AFC. That likely will not happen once again this year as the Bengals finish 8-8 while looking up at both the Steelers and Ravens.
Week 1- at Oakland Raiders
Week 2 - vs. San Diego Chargers
Week 3 - at Baltimore Ravens
Week 4 - vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Week 5 - vs. Seattle Seahawks
Week 6 - at Buffalo Bills
Week 7 - BYE WEEK
Week 8 - at Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 9 - vs. Cleveland Browns
Week 10 - vs. Houston Texans
Week 11 - at Arizona Cardinals
Week 12 - vs. St. Louis Rams
Week 13 - at Cleveland Browns
Week 14 - vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 15 - at San Francisco 49ers
Week 16 - at Denver Broncos
Week 17 - vs. Baltimore Ravens