Key Additions: B.W. Webb, Jonah Williams, Kerry Wynn, Bobby Hart, Zac Taylor, Lou Anarumo
Key Departures: Vontaze Burfict, Tyler Kroft
Key Returns: Tyler Eifert, Preston Brown, Darqeze Dennard, C.J. Uzomah
|Week 1||Sept 8th 4:05 PM ET||@ Seattle Seahawks (CBS)|
|Week 2||Sept 15th 1:00 PM ET||San Francisco 49ers (FOX)|
|Week 3||Sept 22nd 1:00 PM ET||@ Buffalo Bills (CBS)|
|Week 4||Sept 30th 8:15 PM ET||@ Pittsburgh Steelers (ESPN)|
|Week 5||Oct 6th 1:00 PM ET||Arizona Cardinals (FOX)|
|Week 6||Oct 13th 1:00 PM E||@ Baltimore Ravens (CBS)|
|Week 7||Oct 20th 1:00 PM ET||Jacksonville Jaguars (CBS)|
|Week 8||Oct 27th 1:00 PM ET||Los Angeles Rams (CBS)|
|Week 9||BYE WEEK|
|Week 10||Nov 10th 1:00 PM ET||Baltimore Ravens (CBS)|
|Week 11||Nov 17th 4:25 PM ET||@ Oakland Raiders (CBS)|
|Week 12||Nov 24th 1:00 PM ET||Pittsburgh Steelers (CBS)|
|Week 13||Dec 1st 1:00 PM ET||New York Jets (CBS)|
|Week 14||Dec 8th 1:00 PM ET||@ Cleveland Browns (CBS)|
|Week 15||Dec 15th 1:00 PM ET||New England Patriots (CBS)|
|Week 16||Dec 22nd 1:00 PM ET||@Miami Dolphins (CBS)|
|Week 17||Dec 29th 1:00 PM ET||Cleveland Browns (CBS)|
For the first time since the 2002 NFL season, the Bengals will no longer be led by Marvin Lewis. He finishes with a career record of 131-122-3 while going 0-7 in the playoffs. Additionally, in his 16 seasons, the Bengals won the AFC North four times. To replace Lewis, an offensive minded coach from the Sean McVay coaching tree was hired. Zac Taylor inherits a 6-10 team that is trending in the wrong direction. No big-name free agents were signed, so their first-round draft pick may be their biggest addition or return to the team. Departing are two producing players, but each had shortened seasons last year. There shouldn’t be too much concern with replacing Burfict and Kroft.
Andy Dalton slates in at starting QB with no depth behind him. The Bengals did not elect to select a top rated QB in this past draft, so Dalton has a crucial season in front of him. As a starter in his first eight seasons, he has not instilled confidence. He is 18 games over .500 in the regular season, but has yet to deliver a playoff win in four attempts. Maybe the coaching style change will rejuvenate him, coupled with the weapons on offense. Joe Mixon looks to rush for a thousand yards again while the WR position has a trio of talent. Dalton has an ideal combination of strength and speed in A.J. Green, John Ross and Tyler Boyd. If all three can stay healthy this season, Dalton looks to bounce back.
On the defensive side of the ball, Lou Anarumo replaces Marvin Lewis as the DC. Last season, the Bengals allowed the most yards per game and no key additions have been made to upgrade the defense. On top of that, 46.3% of the opposition’s drives ended with scores. The hope is that the returning players can produce more than last season, which is not inspiring. Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap will continue to create havoc and look for the duo to combine for over 16 sacks this season. This may be the only bright spot on the defense. The secondary needs to improve in this upcoming season. They gave up the most total passing yards and with the current cast, that looks difficult to improve upon. Equally important, the LB core needs to step up. Preston Brown will need to take a huge leap given the inexperience surrounding him.
The schedule for this season will be tough to manage. There is a strong chance that Cincy will start 0-4. Tough road tests at Seattle, Buffalo and Pittsburgh will give early signs of the outlook for the season. Additionally, the AFC North drew the NFC West and AFC East, which has the previous Super Bowl opponents. Even the bottom teams in those divisions will give the Bengals fits. This does not set up well as they project to be at the bottom of the AFC North standings.
In an off-season where no significant players were added and banking on Dalton to bounce back, times could get gloomier in Cincinnati.