Bengals should be considered legitimate contenders in 2017

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CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 1: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs the ball away from Matt Judon #91 of the Baltimore Ravens during the fourth quarter at Paul Brown Stadium on January 1, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Baltimore 27-10. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 1: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs the ball away from Matt Judon #91 of the Baltimore Ravens during the fourth quarter at Paul Brown Stadium on January 1, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Baltimore 27-10. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals need to win it all for bias to end
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The Offensive Mix

Most of the anxiety about this team is about the offensive line. But, there hasn’t been much pressure on the Bengals’ quarterbacks. To be precise, the O-line–that everyone is worried about–surrendered five sacks over the four tune-up games. Yes, that’s right. According to CBS Sports, the line was ranked No. 2 in QB protection. Cedric Ogbuehi and Co. seem to have found some continuity. Andy Dalton may have the time to find those weapons after all.

Joe Mixon. That’s it. There’s no need to say anything else. Moreover, it would be beyond rude to harp on nothing but Joe. Yes, he’s an electric talent. Most of the preseason hype has been about the rookie class. But, some of the most sparkling developments have come from the second-year players. Cody Core looks faster. Scratch that. He is faster.

Sans the ankle injury, Jeremy Hill has been running with authority and purpose. The running game will be a welcome addition to the offensive mix. Coordinator Ken Zampese has been looking for the right pop to compliment the passing game. This looks like the year it could happen. A.J. Green is healthy and looking like he could make a run at the 1,800-yard pace he had last season before getting injured.

Next: Cuts To Get It Done

To Sum It Up

This will be an exciting time to be a Bengals fan. The team is younger, faster and there are high expectations afloat.

"“Our approach has changed this entire camp. We’ve had more physical work. We’ve had more competitive things since we started back in April, because we knew we were going to be in this situation — or at least I knew we were going to be in this situation, and nobody else did (laughs). But this was what I envisioned, and I feel good about that. We wanted to put these guys in those situations all the time so that they would be ready to go. Now we’ve got to go prove it.”"

It all gets real September 10. But, you already knew that. 

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