Cincinnati Bengals: 2013-2014 Season Preview
The Cincinnati Bengals finished the 2012 season with a 10-6 record, and lost to the Houston Texans in the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs.
The Bengals had a very quiet offseason as far as brining in new players goes (Cincinnati resigned a lot of their own guys). The only real new piece they added was outside linebacker James Harrison.
The Bengals didn’t let any key pieces from their 2012 team leave in free agency either.
Cincinnati has high expectations for the 2013 season, and are looking to capture their first AFC North Division Title since 2009. Here is the Bengals 2013-2014 season preview.
The Bengals should have one of the better offenses in the NFL in 2013.
Andy Dalton struggled down the stretch last season, but overall had a productive year, throwing for 3,669 yards and 27 touchdowns. His late season struggles should be a bit of a concern to Bengals fans, but Dalton is young and should improve in big games
Cincinnati added a few new weapons on offense this year via the draft, including running back Giovani Bernard and tight end Tyler Eifert. Both of these draft picks were great selections for the team.
Bernard will back up BenJarvis Green-Ellis (1,094 rushing yards, 6 TDs in 2012), and will be the teams 3rd down/receiving back. Bernard was a big play machine at UNC last season, and the Bengals lacked big plays out of their running backs last year. Cincinnati didn’t have a rush of over 50 yards in 2012 – Bernard had 3 by himself last year for UNC.
Eifert will help bolster the Bengals receiving core which is led by superstar AJ Green. Green is already one of the best wide outs in the NFL and should be very productive again in 2013. Mohamed Sanu is slotted to be the number 2 receiver, and when he was healthy last season, was pretty productive. Andrew Hawkins will be the Bengals slot receiver, and he was third on the team last year with 51 receptions.
With the addition of Eifert, the Bengals will look to use a lot more two-tight end sets with Eifert and Jermaine Gresham. Both Gresham and Eifert can play in the normal tight end spot of line up on the outside, which could cause nightmares for opposing defensive coordinators.
The success of the Bengals offensive this year will depend on how well their offensive line can play. Last year, Cincinnati’s offensive line stunt, and gave up 46 sacks. This unit will have to play much better in 2013 for the Bengals to reach their full potential.
Cincinnati’s defense was one of the best overall defenses in the league last season, ranking 7th in the NFL against the pass and 12th against the run.
The Bengals defensive line is one of the best d-lines in the league. Defensive tackle Geno Atkins is arguably the most underrated player in the NFL, and he’s an absolute
menace to opposing QBs (12.5 sacks in 2012). Carlos Dunlap (6 sacks in 2012), Michael Johnson (11.5 sacks in 2012), and Domata Peko (2 sacks in 2012) form the rest of the Bengals defensive line, and are all very effective. These four helped Cincinnati record 51 sacks in 2012, which was the 2nd most in the league.
James Harrison, Vontaze Burfict, and Rey Maualaga form the Bengals linebacking group, and these three have a lot to prove. Harrison is coming off back-to-back injury plagued seasons in Pittsburgh. Burfict showed a lot of promise last season as a rookie, but needs to prove he can do it consistently, and Maulaga had decent stats last season but missed a lot of tackles and got beat a ton in coverage. Opposing teams may try to target the Bengals linebackers, as it is the weakest part of their defense.
The Bengals have a very talented secondary led by cornerbacks Leon Hall and Terrence Newman. Adam “Pacman” Jones and second year man Dre Kirkpatrick are their backups, and all four of these guys are very talented. Reggie Nelson and George Iloka are slotted to be the Bengals starting safeties. Nelson had a very solid 2012 season while Iloka barely played. He’ll need to step and play well for the Bengals to replicate their success against the pass in 2013.
2013 Prediction: 11-5
The Bengals could be very good in 2013. They should have one of the better offenses in the NFL, and if their defense can replicate what they did last year, watch out. Andy Dalton has to play better down the stretch, but he should flourish with some added weapons on offense. Defensively, the Bengals will need to be able to cover the middle of the field or opponents will try and exploit that weakness.
Wins: Pittsburgh, @Cleveland, New England, @Buffalo, @Detroit, New York (Jets), Cleveland, @San Diego, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Baltimore
Losses: @Chicago, Green Bay @Miami, @Baltimore, @Pittsburg
Follow me on Twitter: @mlukes14