Cincinnati Bengals: Five Bold Early Predictions for 2016

matthewwillson
Aug 24, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Detailed view of a Cincinnati Bengals helmet on the field prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 24, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Detailed view of a Cincinnati Bengals helmet on the field prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron (5) against the Pittsburgh Steelers during a AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron (5) against the Pittsburgh Steelers during a AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

#5: Bengals go 3-3 in the division

The Bengals were 5-1 in the division last year and dominated the Browns and the Ravens last season. The big issue with repeating something similar is that all four teams got better. Every team is becoming healthy, with the Bengals

The Ravens will return a healthy Joe Flacco, Steve Smith Sr., Will Davis, and Justin Forsett from injury. So essentially, they will get their entire team back from injury. The Ravens added in a talented offensive lineman out of Notre Dame in Ronnie Stanley to protect Flacco, two big pass rushers in Kamalei Correa and Bronson Kaufusi, and a talented fourth round corner in Tavon Young. They will look like a different team.

The have rid themselves of the distraction in the locker room, with the release of Johnny Manziel. They have brought in former Bengals’ offensive coordinator, Hue Jackson, to be the new head coach. Finally, they hired a baseball guy to run the football operations side, oh yeah, he just happened to be the guy the movie “Moneyball” was following in Paul DePodesta.

The Steelers always seem to split the series with the Bengals. This rivalry is the nastiest it has been in decades, reminding many of fans of the Browns/Bengals rivalry or even the 70’s era of Steelers/Raiders, two of the best rivalries in football. The Steelers will get Le’Veon Bell back from his ACL tear, they focused on getting back to defense in the draft, but will have to overcome Martavis Bryant season long suspension.

The Bengals got better in their pass defense with the draft, when they picked up William Jackson III, and their defensive line with Andrew Billings. Then they solidified their offense with Tyler Boyd and Christian Westerman. The Bengals will get back Andy Dalton but will have to overcome a three game suspension for Vontaze Burfict.

The Bengals could easily go 5-1 or they could go 2-4. This division is shaping up to be the toughest division in the NFL again. Injuries, suspensions, and game preparation (against the Browns), could mean the difference between winning the division and finishing third.

Next: Number Four: Who's Win's AFC North

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