Thursday, August 10, 2017

Cincinnati Bengals - 2017 NFL Season Preview

CINCINNATI BENGALS                                            

2016 Record - 6-9-1

Head Coach - Marvin Lewis

Offensive Rank13th  (357 yards per game, 20.3 points scored per game)

Defensive Rank17th  (351 yards allowed per game, 19.7 points allowed per game)

The quarterback is Andy Dalton, who had 4,206 passing yards with 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions a year ago. A.J. McCarron is the backup QB again.
The team will have Jeremy Hill (839 rushing yards, nine TD) and rookie Joe Mixon (Oklahoma) running the ball as Gio Bernard rehabs from a knee injury that limited him to just 337 yards rushing last season. A.J. Green (66 receptions, 964 yards, four TD) leads the wide receivers along with Brandon LaFell (64, 862, six TD) and rookie John Ross (Washington). Tight End Tyler Eifert played in just eight games last year, making 29 receptions for 394 yards and five touchdowns. He will be looking to get back to his old form that made him an up-and-coming NFL star.
Geno Atkins (nine QB sacks) leads the Bengals defense along with Carlos Dunlap (eight sacks) and linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who had two interceptions last season. Shawn Williams (three INT) and Dre Kirkpatrick (three picks) are the key players in the secondary.

OUTLOOK FOR 2017 - The Bengals struggled on offense last year, averaging only 20 points per game as they struggled in the red zone. Dalton and company have to get back to where they were a few seasons ago when they were regulars in the post-season.
The defense played decent last year, allowing just under 20 points per game and the Bengals were a plus-3 in the turnover ratio while snaring 17 interceptions. 
Marvin Lewis would like to see the team get back to that status as well as he enters his 15th season as the team's head coach. If the team can get the consistent offensive attack with pass and run balance, they can get back to being a playoff team.
The key for Cincinnati will be how they do against Pittsburgh and Baltimore, the two teams that have dominated the division (along with the Bengals) since the 2009 season. If they play well and hold the edge in the AFC North games, they can win the division. However, that may be a heavy lift in the 2017 season. Look for an 8-8 finish this year in Cincinnati. 

Week One - vs. Baltimore
Week Two - vs. Houston
Week Three - at Green Bay
Week Four - at Cleveland
Week Five - vs. Buffalo
Week Six - BYE
Week Seven - at Pittsburgh
Week Eight - vs. Indianapolis
Week Nine - at Jacksonville
Week Ten - at Tennessee
Week Eleven - at Denver
Week Twelve - vs. Cleveland
Week Thirteen - vs. Pittsburgh
Week Fourteen - vs. Chicago
Week Fifteen - at Minnesota
Week Sixteen - vs. Detroit
Week Seventeen - at Baltimore 

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