This will have to be the year it clicks for the Bengals. They’ll have to ignore the critics and focus on getting the job done.
It’s never too early for thinking about the Super Bowl and there’s always room for ice cream. Those two thoughts would make my English teachers pull their hair out. But, the point is simple. Most Bengals fans have recurring fantasies about the Big Dance. Conversely, ice cream is a delicious sweet treat. How are they connected? Unless you’re lactose intolerant and hate football, the average Bengals backer wants both.
Now that you’re totally drawn in to find out how this gets resolved, let’s continue. The Bengals have been picked to fail the AFC North test. The same analysts who giveth have taken away the dreams of Cincinnati faithful. According to Pro Football Focus, the Bengals don’t look like a team on the rise. There will be more of what transpired last year when the final record was an unforgettable 6-9-1.
But, isn’t that the same PFF that spews out the great memes with stats about A.J. Green, Vontaze Burfict and Andy Dalton? How can they say so many glowing things and then turn around and become the bearers of gloom and despair? That’s the nature of the industry. There’s no love. It’s all about the hot story.
If you want to believe the reasoning, the Bengals will not receive much improvement from the dynamic draft class of 2017.
Here’s The Lowdown
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"The Bengals had their worst season in six years in 2016. A big part of the problem was key injuries, including A.J. Green missing the last several games of the season. His 2.86 yards per route run last year was a rate bested by only Julio Jones. While his return is a reason to believe they can do better, their losses on the offensive line suggest they won’t. Andrew Whitworth had the top pass-blocking efficiency for tackles, and Kevin Zeitler was in the top five for guards, and both are in new homes. Andy Dalton’s adjusted completion percentage of 60.6 was tied for fourth-worst for quarterbacks, so Cincinnati may be seeing its second straight season without the playoffs."
If the logic behind this is true, the Bengals will struggle not only this season but next year as well. If Zeitler and Whitworth have that much impact on the entire team, why even try? Marvin Lewis should just forfeit the season and save fans the trouble of buying tickets and watching at the local tavern. In fact, don’t stock up on wings and game snacks. Try investing in a case of Pepto Bismol instead.
Reading the thoughts of analysts can be truly interesting. But, it’s all just entertainment. Anything can happen. Yet, with the timing of perennial weeds, the jabs are there for the Bengals.
It’s All About Mindset
The 2017 season is going to be one that’s won in the mind. Since the Bengals grabbed Joe Mixon in the draft, the predictions have been lukewarm at best. But, that’s a good thing. The fact that Cincinnati is rolling along under the radar is good. The element of surprise will be the weapon of choice this year.
There’s no doubt the Bengals have the talent to do damage in the AFC and beyond. But, they won’t get that respect until (must it be said again?) they win in the postseason. This is a season that will be measured in passion and emotion because no one believes outside of Bengals Nation.
"“I’m cool with being under the radar,” Burfict offered, per Bengals.com. “Because once somebody plays us they’ll realize, ‘Damn, we slept on them.’ I’m cool with that as long as we keep progressing, keep getting better, and understand the play book.”"
How bad do they want it? Stay tuned for January.