The AFC North is always a tough division. This year, the Bengals will face more competition than expected. But, are their opponents ready?
What better way to find out what’s happening with your favorite home team than poking your nose somewhere? Now, that doesn’t mean being an absolute jerk when assessing the damages or good fortunes that come to an opponent. But, it does tend to give a better understanding of what the Bengals will be facing when it’s time to do battle with the enemy.
The season is just a few hot summer days away and getting the skinny on division rivals can be both fascinating and forgettable. But, one thing is definitely true. The Bengals will be in for six battles that can make or break their run for the playoffs.
In order to gauge what the AFC North has in store for the Bengals, here’s a look at what’s happening with the other franchises chasing the Lombardi.
Them Boys By The Lake
It’s hard to have a cold shoulder with the Browns. After all, Hue Jackson was once “the” man in Cincinnati before he became the potential savior for Cleveland. Bengals fans witnessed a star-studded draft for the Dawgs. But, in typical fashion, things seem to be going awry already. Rookie Myles Garrett injured his foot during Cleveland’s minicamp Wednesday. So far, Jackson and the Browns haven’t commented on Garrett’s status.
Foot injuries can be tricky to diagnose and can lead to tons of speculation. All Bengals faithful need to do is think back to last season. Tyler Eifert was supposed to spring back to action, after suffering a foot injury at the 2015 Pro Bowl. What was deemed a minor setback required surgery and kept Eifert off the field for half the year.
Garrett suffered a high ankle sprain last year with the Aggies. He was still able to grind out 8.5 sacks to end the year.
Teammate Larry Ogunjobi (Save us Obi-Wan) is confident Myles will be fine.
"“He’s humble and he’s hungry and really wants to be great. So you know it sucks,” Ogunjobi said. “But, it’s part of the game. It’s part of the process and you know he’s going to bounce back.”"
Quoth The Raven…Nevermore
There’s no quarterback controversy in Baltimore. But, there’s always the debate over Joe Flacco being elite. Most B-More fans will tell you that their season was a stinker because of Joe’s injury. Yes, the Raven’s D is pretty good (yawn). But, Flacco is supposed to be the big cheese.
According to CBS Sports’ Sean Wagner-McGough, the Ravens are in need of a better QB to toss the pigskin around. Well, he didn’t actually say that. Free agent wide receiver Eric Decker is rumored to be thinking of making his new home with the Ravens. But, Wagner-McGough isn’t buying the elite talk concerning Flacco.
That should make Bengals fans feel better. Andy Dalton has been shunned from the elite conversation and has better stats the that guy in purple. You want proof? Dalton’s QBR falls in at 89.1 with his highest being 106.2 in 2015. Flaco chimes in at 84.5 and 93.6, respectively. The latter number was seven years ago. Maybe the 2012 Super Bowl has something to do with that elite talk. Meh, go figure.
Steel City Blues
Just when the Bengals seem to be getting their backfield in order, the Steelers are having trouble. Le’Veon Bell is still running around with no ring on his finger. Bell didn’t show up for minicamp and doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to sign a contract with the Stilluhs.
Most of the NFL jargon can be confusing. But, simply put, it looks like Bell is in the early stages of a holdout. The Steelers have until July 15 to get him inked. But, will they be willing to pay the outlandish money he may be demanding? Bell is in the prime of his career and is probably looking for an offer that reflects what he’s done for the Steelers.
Would the Bengals be mad if he sat out the year? Um, no. But, that would give Pittsburgh fans an excuse to say it was Vontaze Burfict’s fault. Yinz love to live in the past