Early Season Preview: 2013 Game Breakdowns and Record Prediction


May 29, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) stands with head coach Marvin Lewis (right) during organized team activities at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

To start with a frank statement, the 2013 schedule for the Cincinnati Bengals is not easy.

In fact, it appears quite difficult, with several games that will be closely contested, making a season prediction a bit hard to do.

However, in this article, I’ll try to do a brief breakdown of first the AFC North match-ups, and then the rest of the regular season for Cincinnati.

Please bear with me.

Series with the Cleveland Browns: We should win both of these games. The Browns had a relatively strong off-season, but then again, so did the Bengals. I don’t expect the Bengals to have too much trouble dispatching their intrastate rivals in 2013.

Leon Hall is going to have an interception early in the second quarter. Place your bets now. I’m thinking around the 12:00 mark.

Series with the Baltimore Ravens: The Bengals have always played well against Baltimore under Marvin Lewis. Both are very good teams, and just like the usual prediction, both games this season will be fought with a lot of grit and muscle. I’ll say that a split between the teams is likely, and each team will probably claim a victory at home.

Dear Geno Atkins,

Please gently place Joe Flacco on the turf.

Series with the Pittsburgh Steelers: Unlike going against the Ravens, the Bengals haven’t been so lucky against their other main division rival. However, when the team most needed to perform in a win-or-go-home environment for both teams, they did so, propelling themselves into the postseason. Maybe that bad luck at Heinz Field is starting to shift? Either way, I’ll still predict a series split, with each team winning their home game.

I know Harrison’s looking forward to Week 2. Not so sure Big Ben is.

Week 1: @ Chicago Bears: Right off the bat, this is a really tough game to call. A new coach in Chicago will bring a new look to a tough defense missing Brian Urlacher. I was counting this game as a loss about a month ago, just because I don’t like the idea of creating expectations that are higher than they should be. However, I’m having a change of heart. I say Bengals by six.

Charles Tillman, I’d like to reintroduce you to A.J. Green. Please recall last year’s Pro Bowl.

Week 2: Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: See top.

Week 3: Vs. Green Bay Packers: Another interesting match-up, and another close one to call. It’s going to come down to how effective the Bengals defense can be against the Packers’ pass-first offense. Cincinnati will be able to put up points against this team, but I’m not sure it’ll be enough. I’ll predict the Packers in a close one.

However, Andy, the game’s in Cincy. Here’s your chance to send them home…packing.

Week 4: @ Cleveland Browns: See top.

Week 5: Vs. New England Patriots: I don’t see Tebow being the death of us here. However, Tom Brady has the ability to tear apart any defense, no matter how good it is. The Bengals will hang around for awhile, but the Patriots are just a more dominant team right now.

Mr. Belichick, this would be the perfect game to start Tebow. Just sayin’.

Week 6: @ Buffalo Bills: I don’t think this game should be much of a problem, especially if the Bills are experimenting with Manuel at QB. The defense will have no problem containing a team without a break-out player, and the offense will certainly be able to put up enough points in Buffalo.

For the Bills sake, let’s hope they at least have a running game.

Week 7: @ Detroit Lions: The Lions followed a surprisingly great season in 2011 with a surprisingly disappointing season in 2012. As for 2013, I expect to see more or their 2012 side than the former. The Bengals shouldn’t have too much trouble in Detroit, but this may be a trap game if Cincinnati decides to underestimate the Lions. Still, predicting a win.

Fact: Did you know that a Bengals tiger can grow to be twice the size of a lion? Just found that interesting.

Week 8: Vs. New York Jets: Mark Sanchez. Geno Smith. Whoever it is, it doesn’t really matter. The Jets are in a rebuilding stage and it will likely be at least another two years before the team is able to become dangerous again. The Bengals will look to stay in the win column at home here.

You know, Mark Sanchez is a great guy. He just wants to make sure everyone gets the football.

Week 9: @ Miami Dolphins: Something smells fishy here. We underestimated them in 2012, and it came back to haunt us in a 17-13 loss at home. Now we’re playing in Miami, and the team added some key players in the off-season. On paper, it should be a win. But I’m not counting Miami out here. My prediction will stand as a close Bengals win, but take that prediction with caution.

Does anyone know how far away Miami is from Cuba?

Week 10: @ Baltimore Ravens: See top.

Week 11: Vs. Cleveland Browns: See top.

Week 12: Bye week.

Week 13: @ San Diego Chargers: This is a team that can perform behind a battle-tested defense. However, the offense was constantly in question last season. The Bengals defense should have no problems keeping Phillip Rivers under control, and the offense should be enough to pull away with a win on the west coast. Bengals by a touchdown.

The Bengals will enjoy their paid vacation in California.

Week 14: Vs. Indianapolis Colts: Another close call. Andrew Luck will certainly look to build on a strong rookie year, and he’ll do it with a team full of good chemistry. This Bengals and Colts game will be entertaining to say the least, as they use very different schemes. Perhaps the preseason finale will give us a little more to go off of? Maybe not.

The Bengals can’t afford to horse around here. With a little luck, the playoffs will be on the horizon.

Week 15: @ Pittsburgh Steelers: See top.

Week 16: Vs. Minnesota Vikings: The reason I didn’t give a clear prediction on the Colts game is simply because I didn’t have one. It’s the same case for this game. Therefore, I’m going to play the diplomat by saying the Bengals will win one of the two.

Not a fan of the new uniforms, but hey, Thor was a great move.

Week 17: Vs. Baltimore Ravens: See top.

So, looking at the predictions game-by-game, I find myself sitting at an 11-5 record. There are a few games that are difficult to guess at, especially since we haven’t see any teams in action yet. The beginning of the season will surely set more things in stone, but then again, it’s the NFL.

I’m sure we’ll encounter our fair share of surprises.