Bengals Must Capitalize on “Easy Wins” in 2015
Dec 14, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) meets with Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) after the game between the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Bengals beat the Browns 30-0. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
After the draft concludes eight days from now, the Bengals‘ focus will turn to preparing for the season and according to numerous sources, including the Washington Post, the Bengals have one of the toughest true talent schedules in the NFL along with the Steelers. This means that they must capitalize on “easy wins.”
At the end of the day, no win is “easy” as you still have to show up and play hard to earn every win. Nonetheless, the Bengals need to win every game that they are expected to win convincingly. No disrespect to my wife, but the Tennessee Titans game last season is the perfect example of what I mean. They stuck to their game early and made sure the Titans had no chance to ever get back into it.
The Bengals’ schedule this season doesn’t have many of these games, but here are a few that should be considered “must wins.”.
Week One: Oakland Raiders
The Bengals will be up against an improving Raiders team under quarterbackDerek Carr
. They are not a playoff caliber team at this moment, but are still a threat when they are at home, just ask the Chiefs. Yet, they are beatable and offer the Bengals a great opportunity to open the season with a win.
Week Two: San Diego Chargers
Cincinnati should be “up” for opening day at Paul Brown Stadium. The Chargers have a lot to worry about with the distraction of quarterbackPhilip Rivers
‘ future. They are a good team, but they have a lot of uncertainty within the leadership on the field. It should be a win for the Bengals and the chance to start the season 2-0
Week 9 and 13: Cleveland Browns
The Bengals need to find a way this season to win both games against Cleveland Browns. They exposedJohnny Manziel
‘s weaknesses last season in their second matchup, but the Browns’ defense suffocated the Bengals on Thursday night football earlier in the season. The Browns are not bad, but the Bengals are better, much better, than the offense they will face this season in Cleveland.Andy Dalton
will have to shake off his 3-7 prime time record in order to get past the Week Nine game.
Week 15: San Francisco 49ers
The main concern here is that by Week 15, the 49ers will be firing on all cylinders. They have a first year head coach in Jim Tomsula who was a defensive line coach for the 49ers previously, so it’s reasonable to assume 2015 will be a learning year for the rookie head coach.
The Bengals will need to win this game to make the playoffs and possibly win the AFC North. After facing the Steelers the week before, heading to Levi’s Stadium and the west coast will be difficult. It will be another prime time game that the Bengals will have to win, and that is what scares me most in this game.
If the Bengals stay healthy and can win these games they will be five games closer to reclaiming the AFC North crown from the Steelers and the returning to their fifth straight playoff game.
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