Bengals Odds to Go Winless with Expert NFL Betting Predictions
The Niners blew it in overtime last week to ensure we would have no 16-0 teams in the league this year. There is only one shot left at perfection in the league this year - the lowly Bengals. Cincinnati has roared out to an 0-9 start and has a real shot at going 0-16 to join the 2017 Browns and the 2008 Lions as the only squads to achieve that feat. Oddsmakers aren't optimistic that they can pull it off - they are at just +400 to go winless, compared to -700 to win at least once. I really would like to bet the winless side - partly because of the price, and partly because they are so incompetent that it is hilarious. Let's break down the pluses and minuses in their race to perfection:
Plus - Coaching: I'm not saying that Zac Taylor is a bad coach. We have no way of knowing if that is true. But we can safely say that he was not the right guy for this job. Marvin Lewis was in the job for seemingly decades. His systems were deeply entrenched, and the incompetence that oozed off of him had contaminated every aspect of the team. It would be very tough for any coach to follow that up and try to undo everything that has to be undone. But for Taylor, a 36-year-old who had never even been an NFL coordinator, it was way too much to ask. He not only has to try to figure out how to be a coach, but he has to do it while taking over a mess of a team and working for one of the worst front offices in the league. Taylor is not doing great. But Vince Lombardi wouldn't with this team, either. Taylor isn't going to steal one. He's not a short-term asset here. There will also be concerns about his future, and that could be a distraction. But the team kept Lewis around for many more years than they should have, so it seems unlikely that they would make a change after just one year.
Plus - QB drama: Andy Dalton is pouting and has made it clear that he wants out. And who can blame him? They don't have a lot of options behind him, either - at least not good ones. And even if Dalton was totally happy, he hasn't been particularly good for a long while now, and with this offensive line and these receivers he is at a massive disadvantage. The QB position is a big point in favor of going 0-16.
Plus - Roster issues: There are so many guys on this roster that know they aren't going to be around next year, and as the season goes along, they will be looking ahead and uninterested in killing themselves. Besides Dalton, there are questions about A.J. Green, who has long been an offensive centerpiece. The offense line is just awful, and Cordy Glenn, the left tackle, is certain to be gone. He probably won't be alone. On the defensive side, the team already cut linebacker Preston Brown. And DT Geno Atkins, DE Carlos Dunlap, and CB Dre Kirkpatrick are all guys who probably make too much money for it to make sense to keep them around. There will be a lot of changes, and that leads to a lot of distractions. That's going to make winning tougher.
Minus - Other teams: Sure, there are lots of reasons to think that this team is bad enough to go winless. They are awful. But so are Washington and the Jets, and they both have found a way to win - twice in the case of New York. And the Dolphins were making an art form of tanking and seemed to be in a place where wins were impossible. But now they have won two in a row. Those three teams are major reminders of just how hard it is to go winless.
Minus - Schedule: The back half of their schedule is softer than the front half was, and that's a concern. They play at Oakland this weekend , which should be a loss. But then they host Pittsburgh. The Steelers have been playing well, but the loss to the Browns this week was a big one and probably ends their chances of the postseason. Their motivation might be a concern. Then they host the Jets. That's two teams that have no business winning, but only one can lose. They play Cleveland twice in the last four games. Who knows where their mindset will be by then, and what impact the ridiculous Myles Garrett outburst will have on the team going forward. New England is a sure loss. But then they also play the Dolphins. But the Dolphins will be focused on getting the best draft pick by then, so they aren't going to make losing easy for the Bengals. There are a lot of spots where this pursuit of perfection could go off the rails.
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