Dec 29, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (27) celebrates with teammates after intercepting a pass during the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium. Bengals defeated the Ravens 34-17. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Can the Cincinnati Bengals Rule the AFC North Again?

T

he Cincinnati Bengals head into OTA’s and soon training camp with one goal in mind, defend the AFC North crown. The question is can they do it?

This Bengals organization has yet to win back to back Division titles in franchise history. This team has proven many firsts though, first team to go to the playoffs in 3 years in a row and house a top 5 defense all three years as well. So why can’t this team win back to back division titles?

If you are concerned with this team and the players and coached who left, you might point at the Baltimore Ravens or Pittsburgh Steelers rebuilding as a concern. You might also point to a rather difficult schedule, facing 5 teams who made the 2013 NFL playoffs.

If you are optimistic, you are looking at some unproven talent to help the Bengals and possibly hurt other teams as they continue to rebuild. You may also point out that the return of Geno Atkins, along with Dalton playing for his future, may be motivation for this team to continue to improve.

They have experience with teams like New England, beating them last year at home, or there division rivals, who they seem to exploit their weaknesses at home. History speaks otherwise, the Cincinnati Bengals have only made the playoffs once after winning the division, and have gone from first to worst 4 times after 7 division titles, not including 2013’s division title.

This defense has the main core still intact with the return of Atkins and continued success of Vontaze Burfict. The offense, although questionable play at some positions, have a solid line to protect Andy Dalton, a few solid running back options, with the addition of Jeremy Hill in the draft, a very deep wide receiver core, and solid depth at tight end.

There is no reason for this team to go from first to worst for the 2nd time in 6 years and 5th time in franchise history. There is very little excuse to why this team should not repeat in 2014. All I can say is, I can’t wait to see what this team does to prove to this great fan base that they are capable of getting to the next level.

All Season facts were pulled from Wikipedia through CBSSports:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Cincinnati_Bengals_seasons

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/teams/history/CIN

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Tags: AFC North Andy Dalton Cincinnati Bengals Geno Atkins Vontaze Burfict

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