Oct 11, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) looks to pass in the first half against the Seattle Seahawks at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
5. Andy Dalton is a legitimate, if not elite, quarterback.
Oct 11, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) against the Seattle Seahawks at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Andy Dalton has been the scapegoat of the Cincinnati Bengals for years, but he hasn’t been the real problem. The run defense and lack of offensive playmakers plagued Cincinnati for years–but that aside, now that Dalton has an arsenal, he’s a much-improved quarterback.
In fact, although I wrote that Dalton is a top-10 quarterback last week, I was wrong–he’s a top-5 quarterback (at least to this point of the season).
Think about it. Peyton Manning and Drew Brees look like their time has come, quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick, Joe Flacco and Matthew Stafford are mightily struggling, and Ben Roethlisberger is injured. Dalton, on the other hand, is excelling and playing far better than any quarterback not named Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady. For the first time of Dalton’s career, calling the Red Rifle a top-5 quarterback isn’t a completely ridiculous statement.
Andy Dalton puts the Bengals in a position to win; his arm strength has immensely improved, he looks comfortable in the pocket, his is much more decisive and he has done a great job of limiting mistakes. He’s among the league’s top three quarterbacks in almost every relevant statistic, and he has dismantled opponents’ defenses with ease on a week-to-week basis all season long. Andy Dalton wasn’t the player who was holding Cincinnati back in the past, but now that the Bengals offense is clicking, he is the player who puts the offense over the top.
There’s still plenty of football to be played, so things could always change. But as of now, the Bengals look like one of the best teams in the NFL. Forecasting a Super Bowl win doesn’t seem nearly as ludicrous as it would’ve sounded just two months ago, but that’s what I’m doing here. Cincinnati will win Super Bowl 50. It has the offense, it has the defense, its special teams are excellent, its coaches are succeeding and the team is healthy. The time is now for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Do you agree? Think I’m crazy? Let me know why on Twitter @HoweNFL.