With the Cincinnati Bengals 2019 schedule being released on Wednesday night, it is time to make a way too early and subject to change season prediction for this year’s team.
Going into last season, the defense was thought to be a strength. In hindsight, that is laughable. The defense never really seemed to get in sync with Teryl Austin, the new defensive coordinator. Austin was let go before the season ended.
At this moment, the Bengals defense hasn’t changed much. Vontaze Burfict is gone, but most of the other names from last year will be back. Everyone is healthy for now, which is refreshing. So, was it really just a bad fit with the new defensive coordinator last year? Can we expect the defense to perform closer to expectations? Or was last year a sign that this defense simply isn’t good? Like most things in the NFL, the answer is probably somewhere in the middle. The defense almost has no choice but to improve, but likely won’t be great so soon after last year’s mess.
The offense showed flashes of good things. The line was pretty good in terms of run blocking and helped make Joe Mixon the leading rusher in the AFC. Like most key pieces on this side of the ball, Tyler Eifert didn’t stay healthy, but showed he still makes a big difference when he does. Finally, Tyler Boyd showed up in a big way and locked down the second wide receiver spot. When A.J Green went down, Boyd also proved that he may have what it takes to be the featured wide receiver at some point.
With the Bengals now having an offensive minded head coach, It is reasonable to think the Bengals offense takes another step forward this year. Despite rumors flying, Andy Dalton is more than likely the starting quarterback, Him paired with Mixon, Green, Boyd, and a hopefully healthy Tyler Eifert has always had the makings of a top ten offense.
With this backdrop, as well as realizing the draft will have an impact, here is a way too early prediction for the 2019 Bengals.
vs. San Francisco W
vs. Arizona W
vs. Jacksonville W
@Los Angeles Rams (London) L
vs. Baltimore W
vs. Pittsburgh W
vs. New York Jets L
vs. New England L
The schedule sets up very nicely for the Bengals with many winnable games to get them to 9-7. This puts them squarely on the playoff bubble. They don’t have any Thursday night games. So, they don’t have to worry about a short week and the injuries that usually come with it. Also, an off week after the London trip in the middle of the season is a big plus.
With so many new things and changes in the organization, 9-7 is optimistic, but also realistic. We will analyze each game as the season draws nearer. All we have right now is the schedule. In that department, the Bengals came out okay.
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