3 Ways The Bengals Can Make The Playoffs

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Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron (5) hands the ball to running back Giovani Bernard (25) 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) hands the ball to running back Giovani Bernard (25) against the Pittsburgh Steelers during a AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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3 Ways The Bengals Can Make The Playoffs
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

The Bounceback

Looking at the production from the Bengals’ offense, it’s mind-boggling to see where they ranked. At the end of the season, Cincinnati finished just outside the top 10 at No. 13. What makes that stat so weird is their rank the previous year. After tying the club record for wins (12-4), the Bengals landed two spots lower. But, they were able to slide into the playoffs.

Part of the problem is easy to figure out. Andy Dalton didn’t have his big tight end as a target. Tyler Eifert was missing in action with various injuries. After undergoing ankle surgery from a Pro Bowl mishap, Eifert appeared in only eight games. 

The Bengals went 4-4 in those battles. Without the big end, Cincinnati went 2-5-1. Before you toss your laptop in disgust, it wasn’t all on Eifert. The overall offensive scheme seemed to lack continuity. Hopefully, that will change, after getting used to Ken Zampese’s style of play calling. Dalton has gotten used to having Eifert in certain situations. Yes, he’s a crutch. That’s something Dalton will have to work on. All QB’s have one. Tom Brady has Gronk and Ben Roethlisberger has Antonio Brown. It’s all in the way they get used.

Speaking of Jeremy Hill, he has to get better. Man, that was an abrupt topic change. But, Hill’s dropoff was abrupt as well. If the Bengals want to sniff the Promised Land in 2017, the running game has to heal up fast. With the O-Line undergoing massive changes, Hill has to get it in gear. The jury is still out on Giovani Bernard. ACL injuries are unpredictable.

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