This season, the Bengals have the talent to go beyond the AFC North. They have a chance to win it all.
There’s no more room at the excuse hotel. The “first time at the rodeo” cards have been revoked. This is the season the Cincinnati Bengals have to deliver. Their roster is crammed with wily veterans, able rookies and free agent acquisitions. They have an arsenal that should rock the AFC North and beyond. If any team has been built to win Super Bowl 51, the Bengals are exhibit A. They’ve been created to win. They have to take it all.
Contrary to popular opinion,many teams have respect for the Bengals.
For five consecutive years, the Bengals have been the model of regular season dominance. The quest for a sixth straight playoff berth begins July 29, per Cincinnati Bengals. The Men in Stripes will carve out a path of sweat and pain that takes them on a familiar journey. Their cruise through the Northern Territory may be a challenge. Rivals are preparing for the showdown, with enthusiasm. Repeating a sweep of the division is possible, but not necessary.
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The Bengals are no longer a secret. They can no longer be satisfied with a winning campaign. The NFL has become self-aware. One of its parts has gone rogue. The other components are aware of the Bengals’ desire to be much more. What does that mean? The push to beat the Bengals will be insane. No one wants to lose to the upstart guys in stripes.
Contrary to public opinion (what do Steelers fans know?), there are many teams that have tremendous respect for the Bengals organization. The admiration must end with a trip to Texas.
The focus has to be cleaner…sharper. The Orange and Black has been battle tested and worn. There should be no reason to fear what lies ahead. When Andy Dalton went down in Week 14, there was a temporary lull in production. But, the Bengals rallied and looked like a team that was prepared for the adversity. That resurgence is part of the reasoning. Both the offense and defense realized what had to be done and executed.
The Bengals’ coaching staff is one of the most experienced in the league. Offensive coordinator Ken Zampese has been involved with Cincinnati, since the beginning of the Marvin Lewis regime. He knows Dalton better than most people understand themselves. Jacob Burney will be in charge of a D-line that will once again be a force. Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins are Pro Bowl studs that will help make his job easier.
Bengals faithful were worried about the loss of Reggie Nelson. The return of secondary coach Kevin Coyle will help ease the doubts. Shawn Williams, George Iloka and Darqueze Dennard should shine like diamonds, under Coyle’s tutelage.
Time is running out. Fans are getting antsy. The faithful are hungry for a trip outside the AFC North. With the experienced coaching, player additions and battle scars, the Bengals should be primed for a Super Bowl run.
The Bengals have no more excuses. This is the year it goes down. If you haven’t packed for a weekend in Houston, it may be time to get the luggage ready.