The Cincinnati Bengals are off a solid 10-5-1 season, but they didn't make it past the wildcard round in the playoffs, suffering a 26-10 loss to the Colts. This year Vegas has their Win Total set at 8.5 (O -120), so they are not expected to do more than last year's team, but they will compete for the AFC North Title. Vegas odds have the Bengals at +220 to win the AFC North, +2000 to win the AFC Title and +4000 to win Superbowl 50. A preview of the Cincinnati Bengals along with their 2015 Schedule are below.
Last year the Bengals offense ranked 15th in scoring, at 22.8 ppg, while also ranking 15th in total yards (348.0 ypg), 21st in passing (213.8 ypg) and 6th in rushing (134.2 ypg). The Bengals were a very average offensive team last year, but they could be a better overall offense thus time around. Andy Dalton is back at QB after tossing 19 TDs and 17 INTs last year. He just continues to make mistakes and it has led to very average play from him of late. He was hampered last year with the loss of WR Marvin Jones, but he will be back this year and having both him and AJ Green on the field, plus Mohamed Sanu will really help make this offense much more effective. The Bengals had a very good running game last year and it was mostly due to the emergence of Jeremy hill, who ran for 1124 yards last year. This year he shoud be the featured back and could eclipse 1400 yards and behind him is Giovani Bernard, who helps this team form a very strong 1-2 punch in the running game. The OL was not really a strength last year but the Bengals used their first 2 picks in the draft to upgrade it. The rest of the line returns intact and overall it should be an improved unit. I see this offense being able to top last years numbers.
Defensively the Bengals ranked 12th in points allowed (21.5 ppg), 22nd in yards allowed (359.3 ypg), 20th vs the pass (243.0 ypg) and 20th vs the run (116.3 ypg). The Bengals were a solid defensive bunch last year and should be so again this year. The DL line is a bit average this year after being the strength of the defense the last few years. The Bengals were last in the league in sacks last year with 20, after they rang up 43 in 2013. They did cut a liability in Robert Gaethers and brought back Michael Johnson, who was a pretty bigg asset for the team in 2013 and 2012, recording 14.5 sacks combined in the two years. He did struggle last yar at Tampa bay, ut the Bengals are hoping for the old Michael this year. Carlos Dunlap was the lone bright spot on the line last year, while the Bengals are hoping that Geno Atkins can regain the form he had before tearing his ACL in 2013. This will be a better DL than last years, but it is still a weak spot of the defense. The LB Corps was very good last year and should be good this year as well, especially with the addition of AJ Hawk through Free Agency and the fact that Vontaze Burfict will be back after playing in just 5 games last year. He is one of the most dynamic LBs in the league. The secondary is the strength of this defense and has two former first round draft picks that should be starting at some point this year. Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard are ready. This is a loaded secondary overall. I see this as a possible top 10 defense this year.
This is a team that looks solid on paper. The real weakness is the defensive line but that has been addressed and i see it being an improved group this year and if it is then these team has very few weaknesses at all. The LB Corps and the secondary are both very solid , while on offense the WR corps is very dangerous with both AJ Green and Marvin Jones on the field together. The OL is improved and the running game is better with the emergence of Jeremy hill. Do not be surprised if we see both Hill and Bernard notch 900+ yards each this year. Now to the QB spot. Dalton is a fine QB, but he still does make too many mistakes and has also been labeled as the guy that can't win the big games. The Bengals did bring in Matt Schaub as some insurance behind him, so they do have a little depth there. I feel that if any year it is this year that Dalton can finally get the Bengals that elusive playoff win. Dalton really needs this to get the fans off his back. I can see the Bengals topping their win total of 8 games, while winning at least 1 playoff game.
Info Gathered From Scout.com & Athlon Sports
2015 Cincinnati Bengals Schedule
Sept. 13 at Oakland Raiders, 4:25
Sept. 20 San Diego Chargers, 1
Sept. 27 at Baltimore Ravens, 1
Oct. 4 Kansas City Chiefs, 1
Oct. 11 Seattle Seahawks, 1
Oct. 18 at Buffalo Bills, 1
Oct. 25 BYE
Nov. 1 at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1
Nov. 5 Cleveland Browns (Thu), 8:25
Nov. 16 Houston Texans (Mon), 8:30
Nov. 22 at Arizona Cardinals, 4:05
Nov. 29 St. Louis Rams, 1
Dec. 6 at Cleveland Browns, 1
Dec. 13 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1
Dec. 20 at San Francisco 49ers*, 8:30
Dec. 28 at Denver Broncos (Mon), 8:30
Jan. 3 Baltimore Ravens, 1
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College Football Betting Pick: Utah vs Michigan
Jim Harbaugh is worth six points to Michigan according to the recently released Golden Nugget NCAA Football odds, but pro bettors Steve Fezzik and Scott Spreitzer think fans are expecting way too much way too soon for the new Wolverines head coach. In this 9/3/2015 match up, the guys think the Utes are on the way up, recruiting top Pac-12 talent, while Harbaugh and company will be struggling to find their stride this early in the season.