3 questions Bengals must answer in Wild Card Round vs. Raiders

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Trayvon Henderson, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Are they ready?

Fair question, right? We all want to buy into Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase and company as the next big thing. Perhaps they are. Perhaps they aren’t? I’m leaning toward they are, but haven’t we all been burned before? Like, too many times to be honest.

To be fair, the failings in the 2000s weren’t entirely on the personnel. Had Carson Palmer not gotten the cheap, intentional shot from Kimo Von Oelhoffen (spare me, I’ll go to my grave saying that was intentional), the Bengals certainly were well-positioned to go deep into the playoffs.

The 2010s featured a number of exciting, if not overachieving teams, but in retrospect is anyone really surprised that they flamed out under the bright postseason lights?

As much as I love Andy Dalton and all he did for this franchise, he was paralyzed under the bright lights of primetime. The one exception to this was 2015 when Dalton was playing at an MVP level before ending his season with a broken thumb.

Even then, A.J. McCarron did enough to win the first playoff game since the first Bush administration, however a totally undisciplined defense and some shady officiating made sure that didn’t happen. Oh, and Jeremy Hill. Thanks, Jeremy Hill.

Fast forward six years later, and while almost no players and staff from the Marvin Lewis regime remain, the apprehension does.

Well, I’m here to tell you Bengal faithful, let go of that apprehension.

Zac Taylor and company have turned what has historically been an undisciplined bunch, into a tight unit that plays within itself with a cool head and calm demeanor regardless of the situation. The days of reckless play and panic are over.

Trust that this team is ready.

We will know for sure Saturday night, but they will answer this question once and for all. They ARE ready.