In 2015 the Cincinnati Bengals won their 4th AFC North division title and 2nd in 3 years, they were lead by QB Andy Dalton for 12 games until an untimely injury occurred while trying tackle a Pittsburgh defensive linemen after an interception on a questionable screen pass while at the goal line. McCarron would take over after that injury happened in the first quarter of the 13th game, and would be the starter for the rest of the year.
Now, we are a short week and a half away from the regular season underway, and I’m going to explain to you why the Bengals will repeat as division champions. Which would mark just the third time in the division’s history that they have a repeat champion, the other two times by Baltimore and Pittsburgh once each both went on to win the SuperBowl?
Andy Dalton is back under center; McCarron filled in nicely, and Cincinnati fans are grateful to have a back up who can step in and manage games. However that was all McCarron was able to do, with Dalton at the helm he controls the Bengals offense, his leadership has improved tremendously as well as his ability to read defenses. He was an MVP candidate last year and with Green, Eiffert, Bernard, and Boyd to throw to, expect another elite level performance from the Red Rifle.
Vontaze Burfict missed six games last year and in those games the defense allowed 122 pts, after his return in the final ten games the defense only surrendered 157 pts, this year he will only miss three due to a suspension. #55 is a difference maker; he makes the defense better by just being on the field, if you don’t believe me or ignore the stat above, notice how the players perform. Particularly Rey Mauluga who is almost an entirely different linebacker with Burfict on the field.
Cincinnati has one of the best backfields in football today and a young backfield at that. The wrecking ball Jeremy Hill able to power through would-be tacklers, and the bowling ball Giovanni Bernard who seemingly always bounces off one or two defenders per carry.
In two years together they have combined for 3,300 yards on the ground add another 1100 yards receiving to go along with that and 30 total touchdowns, makes this duo a nightmare for coordinators to defend against.
The offensive line is among the top 5 in the NFL, Clint Boling, and Kevin Zeitler is a force on the inside and with arguably the most underrated LT in the league protecting Andy’s blindside #77 Andrew Whitworth. There is so much that could be said about him but his quote “I have two contracts in my life, one to my wife, and the other to protect Andy Dalton” says enough.
The Cincinnati Bengals as a whole unit has proven to be very resourceful as it appears they always seem to have injury issues, and yet it has not stopped them. A great comparison would be to a Swiss army knife; this team is built to be prepared for multiple situations, and they’ve handled themselves well with what they’ve been dealt.
Cincinnati will prove this year they are a team to be reckoned with; they’re a young and talented group of individuals who are hungry to bring the city its first playoff win since 1991. If the Bengals can continue with their development, expect them to catch a lot of peoples attentions in the coming years and maybe even a few rings while they’re at it.