These 5 things have to happen for the Bengals to make the playoffs
2. Bengals must win at home
This certainly sounds simple enough, but home field hasn’t exactly been an advantage under Zac Taylor. With the 17 game schedule, the Bengals have the benefit of an extra home game.
Restoring the considerable home-field advantage the team enjoyed in the Marvin Lewis heyday would go a long way to securing a winning record at home. Of course, the best way to ensure the fan base is hyped is to win.
Kicking off the season with a defeat of the Vikings would help to restore the enthusiasm and confidence that has been missing. Taking advantage of home field with a minimum of a six-win home record is a definite key to making a postseason push.
1. Bengals defense must take a step forward
Lou Anarumo’s hybrid defense has taken a fair bit of criticism in his two years. Failure to rush the passer and create turnovers has hampered the unit and resulted in near-bottom finishes despite the team spending a good deal in free agency.
With a full camp and offseason, as well as the team once again dipping into free agency with the additions of Mike Hilton and Trey Hendrickson among others, the time for making excuses is over. Anarumo must find a way to generate a consistent pass rush and create turnovers.
Whether it be through multiple fronts, blitzing, or disguising looks, the defense will have to find a way to limit third-down conversions, create turnovers, and get to opposing quarterbacks to keep the potentially explosive Bengal offense in plus situations.
If the Bengals can come close to accomplishing these five key points, a surprise playoff push could be in store.