NFL Football 2013: Cincinnati Bengals Preview
When people who engage in online betting look at the landscape faced by the Cincinnati Bengals this season, one thing is going to jump out more than anything else: There’s no more room for excuses in the world of Andy Dalton. The still-young quarterback now has two seasons under his belt. They’ve both been playoff seasons, which puts Dalton ahead of a lot of other quarterbacks who are in their mid-20s. However, the Bengals – with a fair amount of talent – have not won a single postseason game in the decade-long tenure of their coach, Marvin Lewis. The Bengals backdoored their way into the 2011 playoffs, and they were only slightly more convincing in the 2012 season. They benefited from the decline of the Pittsburgh Steelers and made use of that fact, but it’s not as though the Bengals have established themselves as a major force in the NFL. This is a team that has been barely good enough to make the playoffs, and nothing more.
American sport betting analysts and Bengal fans alike will not view this franchise in a different light until the team wins a postseason game and takes on the look of a true championship contender. This is not a “Super Bowl or bust” season for Cincinnati, but it’s definitely a “make the divisional round or bust” season for the Bengals. If the team is to make a step forward, Dalton – decent but inconsistent – has to take that next step and become a more formidable quarterback. The organization has made a strong, concerted effort to make Dalton look better.
The website Walter Football offers a more detailed examination of this reality: “The Bengals obviously can't move on from Dalton yet, so their only alternative was to strengthen their young quarterback's supporting cast. They did just that in the 2013 NFL Draft, spending their two top picks on offensive weapons. The first selection, which was a bit of a surprise, was used on tight end Tyler Eifert. Cincinnati already had another decent tight end in Jermaine Gresham, but considering Dalton's limited arm strength, acquiring another intermediate target for him and utilizing a two-tight end offense makes a ton of sense. Eifert projects as a better pass-catcher, so Gresham will focus more on blocking.
“Cincinnati's second draft choice was used on Giovani Bernard - yet another non-downfield threat who will help Dalton immensely. Bernard is a talented runner who caught 47 passes for North Carolina in 2012. The Bengals desperately needed to find a running back who could be on the field on third downs because BenJarvus Green-Ellis was clearly not that guy. The Law Firm averaged 3.9 yards per carry in his first season with the Bengals. He's a decent No. 2 back in this league, but should not be a starter. Thus, Bernard should take over as the full-time duties sometime soon.”
The sportsbook odds for this team are going to change based on how well the offense plays. The defense is generally competent; everyone is rightly looking to the offense to take charge of this team and carry it closer to the AFC title. The Bengals won’t get there, but they do have to get closer – that’s the point of emphasis this season.