The Cincinnati Bengals came up short in the playoffs again last year, but still have the makings of a playoff team. They still have one of the best overall rosters in the entire league, and they're more than capable of not just returning to the postseason, but actually winning a few games once they get there. Here are four reasons why the Bengals will make the playoffs again this season:
4) Weak AFC North
Cincinnati has owned this division the past several years, and it doesn't look like that will change this season. The Browns are as far away from contending as they've ever been, while the Ravens have no weapons and an inconsistent defense and the Steelers have lost most of their key players to suspension. This division is always heated, but when push comes to shove, no one will really be able to challenge Cincinnati at the top.
3) Andy Dalton's continued growth
Remember when Andy Dalton was a MVP candidate last season before he got hurt? He posted a career high in completion percentage and a career low in interceptions last season before a thumb injury cut his year short - and ultimately played a role in Cincinnati's short stay in the playoffs. If he can build on last season's success, he'll be among the top cornerbacks in the game - and will be leading the Bengals to win after win.
2) Dynamic offensive weapons
This is one of the most underrated parts of Cincinnati's team, but opponents are routinely killed by the talent and depth the Bengals possess at the skill positions. We all know what A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert can do, and rookie Tyler Boyd looks like an absolutely stud beside him, catching three passes for 78 yards and a touchdown through the preseason so far. Brandon LaFell was also brought in to help replace Mohamed Sanu, and if he can return to his 2014 form (953 yards, seven TDs) instead of his 2015 form (515 yards, 0 TDs), the Bengals passing attack will be very scary.
Add in perhaps the best running back duo in the NFL in Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard, and you have an offense capable of putting up 40 points on any given night.
1) Dominant defense
This is where the Bengals hang their hat. They return nine starters from a unit that held 10 opponents to 20 points or less last season, including five games at 10 points or less. Veteran Karlos Dansby joins Vontaze Burfict and Rey Maualuga in an elite linebacking core, Geno Atkins leads a healthy defensive line and their four of their top five defensive backs are back after being one of just two teams with more interceptions than touchdown passes allowed last season.
Yeah, they'll be really good again this year.
Follow our Cincinnati Bengals news page for all the latest Bengals news!Back to the Cincinnati Bengals Newsfeed
Related Topics: Bengals News, NFL News