The Cincinnati Bengals are becoming a sexy pick as a team to make a huge leap in 2013, and possibly make a run at the Super Bowl. But how big of a “leap” exactly would they have to make to have a chance to play for a Lombardi Trophy?
A team coming off of back-to-back playoff appearances should be expected to contend for a spot in the Super Bowl, but when you’re the Bengals, there’s always going to be a bit of skepticism. Especially when you haven’t won a playoff game in over two decades, and as Doug Farrar of Sport’s Illustrated points out, there will be a lot of fingers pointed at quarterback Andy Dalton if the Bengals are once again unable to win in the playoffs this season:
But now more is expected from an organization that hasn’t won a playoff game since a January 1991 win over the Houston Oilers.
So, when you haven’t advanced in the postseason since Madonna’s “Justify My Love” was the number-one song in America (no, really), and you’re finally good enough to get past that issue, the question becomes: What’s standing in your way? The Bengals have a lot of playmakers on offense, and a defense good enough to stack up with any in the NFL at its best, but two straight wild-card losses to the Houston Texans have fans — and possibly players and coaches — pointing in one direction.
Biggest storyline: Do the Bengals have an upper-tier quarterback in Andy Dalton?
Last year, Dalton set career-highs last year in completions (329), completion percentage (62.3 percent), yards (3,669 yards passing), and quarterback rating (87.4). Along with a career-high 27 touchdown passes.