While certainly this is a Bengals team on the rise, it will be herculean for this young team to do better than a repeat a 9-7 season, and it’s wholly possible that a worse record await. One of the worst case scenarios for the Bengals would be a few blown games early on, leading to a decrease of confidence and morale that would be later married up with the increasing difficulty of the 2012 schedule. Acknowledging the challenges ahead will help fans to place future wins and losses in context. Remember, there are likely to be an inordinate amount of first and second year players making up the starting line up on both defense and offense, so it is not fair to lose faith should this season fail to root the plucky enthusiasm that anchored a surprising record last year. Better team or no, it’s to take some grit for the Bengals to get back to the playoffs.