After a rough 1-3-1 start to the 2020 season, things only get more difficult for the Cincinnati Bengals in the near future.
In week five, the Cincinnati Bengals came quickly crashing back down to Earth after an encouraging win over the Jacksonville Jaguars the Sunday before. An embarrassing 27-3 defeat at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens reminded the orange and black faithful just how far they have to go before becoming challengers for the AFC North.
After missing multiple opportunities to come away with wins in the opening slate of the 2020 campaign, it has become quite clear that victories may be just as rare this season as they were in 2019. Can Zac Taylor surpass his win total from a year ago?
The next four weeks are brutal for the Bengals
Unfortunately for Cincinnati, a win doesn’t seem likely to be on the horizon. The next four games feature two currently undefeated teams, the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburg Steelers, and another with just a single loss, the Cleveland Browns. Of course, you can’t forget about the Indianapolis Colts either, an organization that has boasted a tenacious defense thus far.
To make matters even worse, the upcoming opponents have stellar pass rushers capable of wreaking havoc on the Bengals’ woeful offensive line. Myles Garrett, T.J. Watt, and DeForest Buckner all represent major problems for Jim Turner and his unit.
There should be serious concern about the gameplan the Ravens just put on tape as well. After a hot start for Joe Burrow, Baltimore’s defensive coordinator, Don Martindale, just laid out a blueprint for slowing the young signal-caller and the rest of his offense down.
If Taylor and Brian Callahan can’t adequately adjust, it’s difficult to imagine the Bengals finding a win over the next four weeks.
Opportunity arises for the Bengals down the stretch
Once Cincinnati makes it through the next four-week gauntlet, things slow down pretty significantly. Matchups against the Washington Football Team, the New York Giants, the Miami Dolphins, and the Houston Texans are all within the Bengals’ grasp.
First up is the trip to D.C. Although Ron Rivera’s squad is dealing with a mess at the quarterback position, a win is no guarantee. Chase Young leads yet another scary pass-rushing unit and could disrupt the offensive gameplan in a big way.
The most realistic date to circle for another win comes in the following week as the franchise is set to welcome the Giants to Paul Brown Stadium. Their offensive line isn’t in great standing when compared to the rest of the league and without Saquan Barkley, they don’t have any playmakers to really scare a defense.
Of course, this is the NFL, a league that prides itself on the mantra “any given Sunday”. Could the Bengals get a win before mid to late November? Absolutely. But with the injuries they’ve suffered and the performances we’ve seen so far, it wouldn’t be wise to plan a celebration any sooner.