The Carolina Panthers proved once again this season, you can’t win everything, and with one loss in the regular season, showed that perfection is something you can’t just expect to happen. When it comes to the Bengals schedule, it will be difficult to win them all, but another 10-6 season is very possible and should be good enough to make their sixth straight playoffs.
The Bengals have a few games that should be wins if they play the game we have seen them play in the past. Games against Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Washington, at home, should be games that they win. Not to say they will be easy, but the Bengals are better on paper. Even with facing Cleveland on the road and taking at least one in New York should be an attainable goal. They will have to survive games in Houston, unlike last season, and against the unpredictable Dallas Cowboys.
Those games alone put the Bengals at seven wins. You have to figure they will likely split with the Steelers like they did last season, and a healthy Ravens squad, that puts them at nine wins on the season. There are plenty of NFL teams that will take that any season at this point, Tennessee and Cleveland to name the most obvious teams.
Don’t forget what was predicted earlier, 10-6. The questions becomes, where will one or possibly two wins come from? The Bengals played against the Denver Broncos in Mile High and barely lost with a back up quarterback. Andy Dalton will have A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert at a minimum, barring injury. They could possibly steal one from the reigning Super Bowl champs. They may be able to get their third straight season sweep against the Ravens.
Is 10-6 a bold prediction without knowing the outcome of free agency or the NFL draft? Maybe, but just remember, in 2011, when Andy Dalton and the Bengals were suppose to go 0-16. There was no way the Bengals could win with a kid out of Georgia and a rookie quarterback from TCU, oh and my favorite:
"Rookie QB Andy Dalton has a very good chance to be in ICU halfway through the year."
Andy Dalton is a different quarterback, even after a broken thumb. This defense is a dominating pass rushing group, even without Vontaze Burfict. This team just needs to find one thing, an answer to their own woes in the playoffs.