Cincinnati Bengals 2019 Season Preview

Russell S. Baxter

Cincinnati Bengals 2019 Season Preview

By Michael Telford

Special to Pro Football Guru

The Cincinnati Bengals are coming off of a disappointing 2018 season, in which they finished third in the AFC North at 6-10. With a talented player like wide receiver A.J. Green getting older, their Super Bowl (or maybe playoff win) window is closing quickly.

They’re starting off in a bad way, with injuries across the offensive line, surprise retirements, and another banged-up Green. With a rookie head coach in Zac Taylor, who comes from the vaunted Sean McVay coaching tree, they’ll try to make the best of a bad situation, and avoid ending up last in a division that features the reigning No. 1 defense in the NFL, a future Hall of Fame quarterback and an apparently-improved Browns team.

Offense: With a replacement-level quarterback under center, the Bengals will have to rely on stud running back Joe Mixon, who broke out with 1,168 yards on 237 carries in 2018. Though he’ll be running behind what could be the worst offensive line in the league, he has the talent and potential to break off a big run at any moment. The talented Green, once he comes back from injury, will threaten the top cornerbacks in the league. Opposite him is Tyler Boyd, a 1,000-yard receiver in 2018 who has yet to reach his ceiling. If the speedy John Ross can find any footing at all, the Bengals have the potential to field a top-half, if not better offense. Expect to see an increase in play-action in order to hide the offensive line deficiencies, and increase survivability for Andy Dalton. New offensive coordinator Brian Callahan definitely has his work cut out for him to keep opposing defenses guessing.

Defense: The Bengals’ defense might be the thing that keeps them in games this season. With players like two-time All-Pro Geno Atkins, up-and-coming corner William Jackson III and of course end Carlos Dunlap, the starters are for the most part, good-if-not-great players. If they use Andrew Billings correctly, he should be able to help contain mobile quarterbacks – a necessary thing against the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson – and Carl Lawson should help generate a decent pass rush. On the back end, Jackson and second-year safety Jessie Bates are lynch pins in the coverage game. Strong safety Shawn Williams has shown some big hits, and mental toughness in the run game. All-in-all, the defense will likely be the strong point of this Cincinnati team in 2019.

Special Teams: Randy Bullock (82.6 field goal percentage in 2018) and punter Kevin Huber will probably see the field a good amount in 2019. If the offense struggles to finish drives due to the line, one of the two specialists will attempt to hone their craft further. The Bengals’ special teams was not without its struggles in 2018, and coordinator Darrin Simmons will likely have the third-phase players on a short leash this season.

Prediction: The Bengals will go down swinging, but they will go down. They will still manage a win or two in the division, but ultimately end up at the bottom of the AFC North. They’ll likely struggle to win most of the games on their schedule, unless facing a heavily-injured team, and being injury-free themselves, which is unlikely. Taylor has yet to show that he was worthy of the quick hire, and he’s in one of the tougher divisions in the league. Look for the Bengals to end up selecting in the Top 10 of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Win-Loss Record: 5-11 (4th place, AFC North)

Michael Telford (@ChibsRSR) is a writer for Writer for @RussellStReport and hosts the @NZIPodcast.


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