The Cincinnati Bengals: The Time Is Now


Aug 24, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith and Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis shake hands after the game at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 25-11. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Good news Bengals fans, those nights of when you had to watch the Reds lose yet another game (which has happened frequently this season) are over. The excitement is palpable in Cincinnati, a city desperate for a playoff winner in the 2000’s. The Bengals players, themselves, understand the importance of the 2015 season, with potentially 17 players leaving the team in 2016. The time is now for the Bengals to get over the post season hurdle and make a deep run in the playoffs, and dare I say, the chance at a Super Bowl?

The Bengals will have a variety of challenges, which could stand between the team and their goals. The schedule will be a major problem for the Bengals to overcome, with the difficulty of teams on the docket for 2015. The Bengals have the second toughest schedule in the league this year, behind the Steelers. They will have to play at home playoff-contending teams like the Chargers, Chiefs, Seahawks, Steelers and Ravens. They will have to handle the prime-time spotlight as well with three nationally televised games. We have seen in the past this team fold under the bright lights, and will need to put those prior experiences in the rear view mirror.

If you read any of the “experts”, very few of them have projected the Bengals to make the playoffs. You can read of a few of their projections at the following link: Pro Football Talk. Everyone seems to have different issues with the team: no team can obtain five straight playoff appearances, Andy Dalton will regress more than he has in the past, and a rigorous schedule. Their reasoning has merit, but I am undeterred in my belief of this team.

Sep 3, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) on the sidelines against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

I have a variety of reasons to be optimistic going into this season, despite the aforementioned obstacles. The Bengals are deep at every position on the offensive side of the ball, with an excess of skill in some spots. One position of strength, for example, is running back. The Bengals have numerous options to utilize different running styles. Jeremy Hill is the grinder, Gio Bernard is the fast scat back, Rex Burkhead is an all purpose back, and Cedric Peerman is the special teams dynamo. The Bengals have not been this blessed with talent since the Super Bowl days, and they will take advantage of it.

This opinion piece is not meant to overwhelm readers with facts and figures. I am writing from my gut and heart, believing this team will make it over the top. We can analyze the depth chart, strength of schedule and every other factor which could influence the season. At the end of the day, I believe this roster will finally get over the hump to win a playoff game and be the most successful playoff team that Cincinnati has seen in a very long time. I can’t wait to see where this team goes.