#4: The Bengals Will Not Win the AFC North
As a Bengals fan, it is incredibly hard to say this. The next part is even worse, the Steelers will instead take back the AFC North crown. However, the Bengals may not turn out so bad. Their schedule is less difficult than last year. They will have to face New England, Pittsburgh twice, a difficult Broncos defense, and the Washington Redskins in London, not to mention a Texans team they struggle with every time.
I can realistically see the Bengals going 11-5, losing to New England, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cleveland (previous slide), and Houston. This could change by a few variables, injuries, suspensions, illnesses, etc… If the Bengals can navigate their schedule like last year, they could get some breaks with a young, inexperienced quarterback in Denver, if Paxton Lynch starts, a slightly rusty Tom Brady, on his second game back, and a inexperienced team in Cleveland.
The Steelers will be getting back Le’Veon Bell and worked to improve their defense in the draft. They have one of the most talented quarterbacks in the NFL, well at least hardest to bring down anyways. The Bengals will face them without Vontaze Burfict in their first match up. The passion and play will cause the two games against the Steelers to be two of the most entertaining and hotly contested games in 2016.
The Bengals will need to find themselves in a perfect storm to win the AFC North, which could happen, but it is unlikely we see a repeat AFC North crown. The Steelers will be projected to win 12 games this season, as long as they can stay healthy, this could mean the Bengals will need 13 wins to earn another crown.
Next: Number Three: Playoff Win?