Bengals News

Cincinnati Bengals Outlook 2016

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Nov 29, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap (96) takes the field during player introductions prior to the game against the St. Louis Rams at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 31-7. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 29, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap (96) takes the field during player introductions prior to the game against the St. Louis Rams at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 31-7. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Cincinnati Bengals head into the 2016 trying to defend their AFC North crown. The Bengals will have to overcome changes in coaching and key players, can they do it?

Going into the final 100 days of the offseason until the kickoff of the regular season, the Cincinnati Bengals look poised to pickup right where they left off, atop the AFC North. The uncanny and somewhat comical end to the Bengals season in 2015 leaves Bengaldom wanting more.

Plenty of people are concerned with how the Bengals season ended, particularly going 4-4 after an 8-0 start. To clarify a few things, the Bengals lost Andy Dalton one quarter into week 14 to a broken thumb, which sidelined Dalton the remainder of the year. Dalton, who was having his best year as a starter, had to watch in agony and awe as his team snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Okay, in reality, no one wants to re-live that fateful, rainy January night, but it speaks to the uneasiness going forward into 2016. What can we expect as fans? With Hue Jackson gone, and every defensive position coach besides Paul Guenther leaving, are the Bengals poised to return as champs? Everything seems to be pointing in that direction.

More from Stripe Hype

According to Pro Football Focus, the Bengals just might be the most complete team in the AFC, again. Yes, we heard this going into last season, but the Bengals proved it on the field last year. Top honors go to quarterback Andy Dalton who finished tied for 4th among all active quarterbacks in ranking, with a 96.23. Geno Atkins, AJ Green and Andrew Whitworth all finished with top four grades at their respective positions. No surprise, sack leader Carlos Dunlap also finished in the top 5 at his position.

There are a  couple of names on the list people may not have realized. Guard Kevin Zeitler, who finished 2015 surrendering 0 sacks and only 3 hits on a quarterback, ranked sixth in the NFL among active guards. Cedric Peerman, who always seems to make the roster around the last three minutes of the preseason, finished 4th in the NFL among special teams players, only missing 2 tackles and committing zero penalties in 2015. This allowed for Peerman to be selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2015.

Next: Can the Bengals Overcome No Burfict Again?

The good news is, the Bengals are maintaining all of these players. Their talent is returning to the roster in 2016, and the Bengals really got good play from unexpected players like Josh Shaw, Shawn Williams, and Darqueze Dennard, who are returning to the jungle in 2016. Looking at the current roster, and where this team can climb, there is no reason to think that 12+ wins is in this team’s future, and the Cincinnati Bengals should be viewed as a real Super Bowl contender.

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