The Bengals look to regroup after a tumultuous 7-9 season which ended on the positive note of preventing division foe Baltimore from making the playoffs. The offense has to improve if the Bengals look to return to the playoffs. The Bengals were dead last in yards per game averaging 280.5 yards per game. Andy Dalton has his top target A.J. Green back once again and has a nice second option in Brandon LaFell. The running duo of Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard have the ability to be big playmakers out of the backfield, but it will all come down to the offensive line which received a needed facelift in the offseason.
The main storyline heading into the season is the four game suspension of Vontaze Burfict. In his absence, the Bengals will need more production out of Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins up front after they combined for 16.5 sacks last season. A bevy of young talent will have opportunities to show their worth in Burfict’s absence. The core of the secondary returns which finished the season ranked a commendable 8th against the pass allowing 211.2 yards per game.
Watching the Bengals
14 of the Bengals’ games will air on CBS or FOX regional coverage at 1pm EST. The other two games are a 4:05pm EST on CBS regional coverage and an exclusive NFL Network primetime slot. Acquiring a simple antenna to check out games could save Bengal fans money on cable.
The first four games without Vontaze Burfict will be a struggle with the only home game against Baltimore. The schedule does not get easier once he returns as the Bengals still have to face the Steelers twice and the Ravens on the road. The Bengals will have difficult road contests traveling to face Carolina, Atlanta, Kansas City, and the L.A. Chargers. The offense will need to do a 180 and the young players in the middle of the defense will have to grow up quickly to take this team to the playoffs.
2018 Prediction: 5-11 & 3rd in AFC North
A vital piece of the Bengals’ offense is pro bowl tight end Tyler Eifert who missed the majority of the 2017 season. He is looking to make his return to action this year and he can provide Andy Dalton a much needed weapon in the passing game.