Bengals: Defense Wins Championships

briandugan
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Nov 23, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defense celebrates a safety in the second quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

There is so much buzz around the Cincinnati Bengals on the offensive side of the ball. Will Andy Dalton lead the Bengals deep into the playoffs? With so many weapons, can the Bengals’ offense be unstoppable? Here is a clue; there will be no playoffs without a dramatic improvement on defense. The Bengals’ defense, though decent at times last season, was just that, decent.

The defense will be tested early and often in 2015, and they better be ready for it. With six divisional games against arguably the toughest division in football, and four non-conference games against arguably the other toughest division in football, the defense has to be ready to bring it every Sunday.

The AFC North is known for being smash mouth, run dominant, in your face football. Always has been, and might be the reason why five of the last 15 Super Bowls had a representative from the AFC North in it, albeit this number is entirely represented by the Steelers and Ravens. With that said, the rest of the Bengals’ schedule is no slouch either. They have four games against the NFC West, another smash mouth division which includes the Seattle Seahawks who were one play away from being back-to-back Super Bowl champions.

Let’s not forget the AFC West, who the Bengals also play. Four games against traditionally great offenses, and veteran quarterbacks. Tie that together with a game versus defensively tough Buffalo, and postseason arch nemesis Houston on Monday night, and the Bengals schedule is shaping up to be one of the most difficult in years.

Marvin Lewis and the Bengals have built a reputation for possessing a stout defense. This year they’ve certainly added nice pieces with the return of Michael Johnson and Pat Sims up front, and the addition of veteran A.J. Hawk to the linebacker corps. The bottom line is, the Cincinnati Bengals are going to need much more help out of their front seven than they got last season. Carlos Dunlap’s eight sacks led the squad, followed by Geno Atkins with three. That simply isn’t going to cut it.

The Bengals’ defense and second-year coordinator Paul Guenther certainly have the talent and experience to revive what was a sleepy Bengals defense last season. 2015 has to be the year of the playoff run, and if the defense plans on skating by and turning in another mediocre season, then plan on watching everyone but the orange and black in the postseason.

Next: The Bright Side of Dalton's Deal

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