After a memorable comeback win over the San Diego Chargers yesterday, The Bengals improved to 7-5, but still sit a game outside of the NFL playoffs with the Steelers holding a head-to-head win over Cincinnati. With four games remaining against opponents with a combined 25-24 record, we posed this question to some of our staff:
With the Bengals at 7-5, how do the Bengals have to finish the 2012 season for you to consider this year a success?
Well if we turn back now, the season will be a disappointment, it would simply get our hopes up and then shoot them down with extreme force; we’ve been through that before, and it’s terrible. I think a 10-6 season is what I would call a huge success, but I can see us losing 2 games, which isn’t the end of the world as long as the Steelers keep losing. And win a playoff game Marvin! He’s 0-3, and this is his chance, I’m not calling for a perfect playoff to the Super Bowl, (although that’d be beautiful) we still have pretty large holes to fill, but a winning season and perhaps a playoff victory is a step in the very right direction.
I’m cautiously optimistic the Bengals can slip into the playoffs, but it’s still going to be tough. Cincinnati likely will need to beat Pittsburgh in Week 16 to make that happen, and Roethlisberger will almost certainly be back at that point. However, even if the Bengals miss the playoffs I don’t think that necessarily makes the 2012 season a failure. Cincinnati hasn’t finished with back-to-back winning seasons since 1981-82, and if the Bengals can accomplish that, I don’t think this will be a wasted season. The players, coaches, and most fans probably wouldn’t agree with that, but what can I say–as a Bengal fan, it’s tough to set expectations all that high. A second straight winning season would make this year a success.
Given the fact that this was a very young team coming into 2012, coupled with a number of devastating injuries to key players before the season even began and through the first few weeks of the season, for this team to finish 2012 with a winning record would be a success to me. The fact that they would be defeating history also plays a role here, as it would be the first time in over two decades that the Bengals had back-to-back winning seasons. At 7-5, the Bengals are just two wins away from achieving that feat. The Cowboys and Eagles are their next two opponents, and they’re a combined 9-19.
Another thing that needed to happen for for 2012 to be a successful years was for the Bengals’ young corp of Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Jermaine Gresham, and Geno Atkins needing to show significant improvement from 2011. They’ve done just that, as Green and Gresham are ll set to achieve career highs in receiving yards while Dalton will surpass his 2011 passing totals, and Geno Atkins has already broken the franchise record for sacks by an interior defensive lineman (9.5).
Defeating history and continuing to establish a bright future: that’s the definition of success for me.