Can the Cincinnati Bengals strike fire and get to the playoffs for the fourth time in five years?
Of the remaining 10 games, only the Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, and Indianapolis Colts have winning records. Overall, the teams the Bengals face have a 28-29 record with five of the 10 teams coming in at .500 so the window to the playoffs suddenly got a lot more open for the Bengals.
It’s going on Week 7 in the NFL, and by now most teams have an identity or a good idea where they will end up this season (see Pittsburgh). If there is any exception to that statement, the Cincinnati Bengals would probably fit that description.
Somewhere between good and great, and a healthy pace in front of average with a side of disappointment, this 2013 Bengals team is the NFL’s Jekyll & Clyde. Some weeks they rise up and stomp teams like New England and Green Bay, while playing down to the level of teams like Cleveland – which would be good if it had a quarterback – and Buffalo the next week.
Here’s a look at the remaining schedule
Week 7: Cincinnati Bengals at Detroit Lions
– Other than the Baltimore Ravens who the Bengals have yet to meet, this may be the closest game on the remaining schedule. Detroit is tied with the Colts for the best record amongst Bengals’ opponents at 4-2.
The Lions’ offense is really catching stride with a top-10 ranking and with the return of Pro Bowl receiver Calvin Johnson almost certainly guaranteed, this matchup might be a shootout.
Cincinnati’s defense is much stronger than the surprisingly bad Detroit counterpart. If the Bengals front line can get to QB Matthew Stafford and make the Detroit defense one dimensional, Cincinnati will have its second road victory of the year.
However, with the Bengalsbeing away and with the Lions getting Megatron back, Detroit wins an offensive nail bitter, 21-17.
Week 8: New York Jets at Cincinnati Bengals
– The Bengals will be back to the welcomed confines of Paul Brown Stadium where they are undefeated on the year. With only one win out of the last 10 matchups, the Bengals should be able to score some sweet revenge given the makeup of the current rosters.
With the Jets’ rookie quarterback Geno Smith still trying to keep the ball out of the opponent’s hands and in his receivers, the Bengals should come away still undefeated at home. Bengals win 27-13
Week 9: Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins
– At the beginning of the season, this matchup appeared more one sided than a gulf club. Now, this trick-or-treat special might be more than Cincinnati fans bargained for. With one of the league’s worst defenses, the Dolphins are somehow able to stay in every game they play – almost.
After a route by the New Orleans Saints, and a tough three-point loss to the Ravens last week, this Dolphins’ team that got out to a quick start is being reeled back in just as quick. Look for all the life to be gone from Sun Life and have a happy Halloween. Bengals win 30-17
Week 10: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
-Maybe it’s the money or a natural slump after winning it all, but this season’s Joe Flacco is nothing like the Super Bowl Champion Flacco of 2012. This Ravens’ team doesn’t have the same attitude without veteran Ray Lewis, and both sides of the football show it.
It doesn’t help that the Bengals have lost four of the last six meetings, but as I said in last week’s article about “history” and how it has almost zero bearing in the NFL year-to-year, this game shouldn’t matter either.
The only factor that matters is that this game is in Baltimore where the Bengals have won only two of the last seven meetings dating back to 2006. Still, Cincy will hold on to win a close game 20-16.
Week 11: Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals
– This game will be very interesting to watch. In the last meeting at Cleveland, the Bengals’ offense had its worst showing of the year and walked away mustering two whole field goals. The Browns’ defense deserves credit as it is a top-ten ranked unit this year.
Unfortunately for Cleveland, they don’t have a quarterback unless you still have faith in Brandon Weeden which apparently Brown’s fans don’t since they listed his job on Craigslist.
Bengals seek redemption for the Week 4 upset and go into the Bye Week on a roll with a 17-7 win over the Browns. After the game, Cincinnati puts in a low-ball offer on Craigslist.
Week 13: Cincinnati Bengals @ San Diego Chargers
– In the last matchup, the Bengals’ defense shut down Philip Rivers and the Chargers’ offense. There is nothing to say the case will be any different this year at QualComm Stadium. Last year, the Bengals won their fourth straight after a 10-to-0 run in the fourth quarter to beat the Chargers’ 20-13 at home.
The Bengals were also able to generate two takeaways from Rivers in the final four minutes.
This year’s Chargers’ offense is good, coming in fifth overall in passing yards (397) as Rivers is having a career year with 14 td’s against five interceptions. It will be tough to call, but I think the Bengals win this one in similar fashion to 2012. Bengals win 24-17
Week 14: Indianapolis Colts vs. Cincinnati Bengals
– With this season’s unprecedented results of the Bengals beating high-profile quarterbacks, something is still telling me that Andrew Luck will hand them their first loss since Week 7 – that’s if my crazy predictions stand.
The Colts are no joke this year, coming off a fast 4-1 start and Andrew Luck is jelling with the offense and Reggie Wayne who should be held together with Cortisone shots and staples by now. At 34, Wayne is still putting up big numbers even if he has only two td’s – 453 yards on 33 catches for an average of 13.7 per catch.
However, it’s the Colts’ defense that is generating some attention that will win this game. The run D sucks, but the pass defense is fifth in the NFL (206 yards) and fourth in points allowed (16 pts).
The Bengals have to lose one eventually at home and for it to happen in Week 14, you can’t be mad about that. Colts win 24-13
Week 15: Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers
– It doesn’t matter if it’s at Heinz Field, Paul Brown Stadium, or a shopping center in Northern Ireland, Pittsburgh is awful. The Bengals’ 20-10 win in Week 2 on MNF was like cracking knuckles for Cincinnati.
It’s only going to get uglier as Marvin Lewis’ team sniffs the playoffs. Bengals’ put Ben Roethlisberger on IR and Steelers fans into a black abyss after winning 27-10.
Week 16: Minnesota Vikings at Cincinnati Bengals
– Vikings win 29-6!
Sorry, bad humor.
Even though they have Adrian Peterson, the Vikings might as well have hot dog venders as everyone else because Peterson is the Vikings right now. It might only be Week 7 (right now) but the only team that has lost to the Vikings was the Steelers – that’s sad.
Bengals sink the Vikings in the Ohio River and win infinity – 10.
Week 17: Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
– After a long season of going 11-4 and resting key players for the playoffs, the Bengals feed the Ravens a bread crumb (and possibly a wild card spot) by giving them a much needed win. If the Ravens are in the playoff hunt, the Bengals are just giving them a little hope before squandering it a week later.
Ravens win 24-13