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

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

  • Travis Crouch

    Your forgetting how important the Def coordinator Was in the last three years this will be the first time without him on the def

    • [email protected]

      Paul Guenther is a product of Mike Zimmer’s system, I don’t see the defense missing a step. But I did not miss it, it is in the concerned fan section.

  • trinity

    Whether by division title or wildcard, the only thing that matters for the Bengals at this point is a playoff victory. At least one. The problem here is Dalton, and he absolutely has to get it done this season.

  • terpmaniac

    I think Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Cleveland might, just might have something to do with who wins this division. Cincy lost to all 3 at least once last year and lets not assume that just because your team got better, everybody else got worst! Fans always think that. I think Pit and Balt are gonna be formidable this year and Cleveland is far from a pushover. Cincy may win the north again but it sure as hell aint gonna be easy.

    • [email protected]

      I fully agree with the fact that how you play in the division is key. All three teams at home very dangerous. The Bengals defense is better than all three division teams, it depends on health and how both teams play. In Pittsburgh, special teams single handedly lost the game. In Baltimore, the lack of offense early hurt the Bengals and created the chance for overtime after a dream Hail Mary play to AJ. Cleveland, the whole team forgot to bring their heads with their bodies and just stunk. Cincinnati had the team to take all three games but errors early, pushed the team too far behind in 2 of those 3 games. Baltimore still has a lot to prove and the steelers, at least according to media in Pittsburgh, think they are still a year away. They are saying that the organization is relying to much on Shazier to pan out and didn’t improve their secondary like they needed. Cleveland is too drunk on Manzel, the organization not totally the fans, yet.