The Cincinnati Bengals are coming off back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time in 30 years, and will be looking to take the next step this season by getting that elusive postseason win and making a run through the AFC. The Bengals haven’t won a playoff game in 22 seasons, but that drought could come to an end thanks to three notable changes that should take
to that next level in 2013-14. Cincinnati
2013 Super Bowl Odds: +3,300
Notable Change #1: Pressure To Succeed Even Higher For Coaching Staff
Head coach Marvin Lewis understands what is at stake heading in to this season, as the pressure on him is greater than ever before with a real sense of urgency that this team must succeed now. Lewis will pass Jim Mora Sr. for the most games coached with one team without winning a single playoff game if the Bengals don’t finally break through. Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has done an excellent job with a young offense, and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer has even more weapons to work with on defense, so the sense of urgency will be there for a coaching staff that must win now.
Notable Change #2:
Set To Break Out In Third NFL Season Dalton
Quarterback Andy Dalton is just the sixth quarterback in the Super Bowl era to lead his team to the playoffs in each of his first two seasons, and he is ready to break out in his third year.
needs to do a
better job of getting the ball off cleanly under pressure and hitting his
targets on deep throws, and this could be the year he finally puts it all
has worked hard on his footwork and refined his release point during offseason
workouts, and he has a ton of weapons at his disposal led by Pro Bowl wide
receiver AJ Green. Dalton
is a hard-working leader that understands the offense’s success revolves around
his play, and will look to take another step forward after finishing with the
seventh-best passer rating in the AFC a year ago. Dalton
Notable Change #3: Defense Poised To Take Another Step Forward With
The defense has been a strength of the Bengals for some time now, and should be even better with the addition of linebackers James Harrison, Aaron Maybin, and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick played just five games last season after a concussion and knee injury kept him out, and
first-round pick from last year’s draft is ready to challenge for more time
with Leon Hall and Terence Newman holding down the starting corner jobs. Cincinnati Harrison has never played in a 4-3 but is smarter than
some people give him credit for and should provide a pass-rush spark along with
Maybin. The heart of the defense is a strength with tackles Geno Atkins and
Domata Peko at tackle and middle linebacker Rey Maualuga, while Zimmer is one
of the best coordinators in the NFL. The defense is poised for a big year in
2013-14, with everything it needs to break through.
Click here to get a full list of NFL futures for the 2013-14 NFL season.