The Bengals are set to square off against the lowly Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, and have a very good chance of ending Week 11 at 5-5 and one game out of one of the two wild card playoff spots. We felt it was time for a roundtable to see what we felt should be expected of the Bengals for the remainder of 2012.
After Sunday’s demolition of the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants on Sunday, what are your expectations for the remainder of the 2012 season?
My expectations for the Bengals remainder the same as it was on Week 1: experience and a record somewhere between 7-9 and 9-7. Despite still being under .500, there is a very real chance the Bengals could be kicking off a significant winning streak as they prepare for KC,Oakland and San Diego. Dallas and Philly are both very winnable and suddenly so is Pittsburgh. Only Baltimore at PBS to round out the season possesses a mismatch. I’m not saying Cincinnati is going to win out; I’m sure mistakes will still be made, but the significant potential for a winning season does exist, at least at this point. But to be clear: is this the season the Bengals will a playoff game? Division favorites like New England, Baltimore, Houston and Denver make that sort of a prediction a bit difficult to make right now.
I think this game creates a surge of momentum going forward, especially for a rejuvenated defense after holding the Giants to just 13 points, while creating four turnovers. Andy Dalton was superb on third down, and did a good job waiting for openings in the Giants secondary. I expect the Bengals to put together a streak the next five games, where I’ll predict a 5-0 run. That’ll put them at 9-5, a chance for a playoff berth, and dates with the two AFC North elites to end the season.
That game against the Giants was the most complete game the Bengals have put together in recent memory. If they can play anywhere close to that level the rest of the way I think they can win their next five games and jump right back into the playoff race. The problem is I don’t have any confidence whatsoever that Cincinnati can consistently play as well as it did against the Giants. Andy Dalton has still thrown an interception in every game but one, the defense has looked vulnerable more often that not, and the Bengals haven’t run the ball effectively all year. I hope that Marvin Lewis has figured out a new secret formula, but I have my doubts.