2018 Cincinnati Bengals Season Win Totals Predictions and Expert Picks
2017 Record: 7-9
2018 Las Vegas Season Win Total: 7.0
2018 Season Win Total Picks NCAA Football: 'Over'
I know it is easy and fun to thrash Marvin Lewis, who was granted a 16 th season at the helm of the Bengals despite never having won a playoff game. However, and I'm not trying to be contrarian here, I like the move.
I think stability in the NFL is vastly underrated. Franchises are way too quick to fire coaches, scuttle front offices, and move on from young players. Patience is not a virtue in the NFL. And the result is, not surprisingly, a very clear class system established in a sport that is built to ensure parity. Sometimes good is good enough. And from there you can wait for lightning to strike and go on a potential championship run.
It's easy to forget just how dysfunctional the Bengals were before Lewis. They were basically the Browns 2.0. In the 12 seasons before Lewis came aboard, the Bengals went 55-137. They averaged just over four wins per season for 12 years! They had zero winning seasons in those 12 years, with an 8-8 campaign in 1996 (a year they fired a coach midseason) as the lone "bright" spot.
In Lewis' 15 years they are 125-112-3. They've gone to the playoffs seven times, an average of once every other year. Only five of those 15 seasons have been below .500. And those results have come while sharing a division with two of the best and most successful organizations in the NFL, Pittsburgh and Baltimore. And those seven playoff appearances are as many as the Bills, Dolphins, Browns, Raiders, and 49ers have combined.
This year's Bengals team looks like will again be in that valley of 7-10 wins. They are not a real contender to win the AFC. But they could be good enough to go to the playoffs. Perhaps the key is remaining healthy, as key injuries have derailed their last two seasons.
Cincinnati's offense plummeted to No. 27 in total yards last year after five straight seasons in the Top 20. They still have A.J. Green and Andy Dalton. They desperately need Tyler Eifert to stay healthy. And beyond that the ceiling for this attack will be based on the development of recent top draft picks like John Ross, Joe Mixon and Tyler Boyd.
The Bengals defensive line is aging. But it's still a strength. Geno Atkins is piecing together a Hall of Fame career and is still the rock. The secondary is also still stable, with Dre Kirkpatrick and Daqueze Dennard providing leadership and playmaking.
The entire AFC North has a brutal schedule. Not only is the division solid, but they have to crossover with the NFC South and AFC West, two of the deeper divisions in football. So there's pretty much no way that the Bengals are going to bust out for a big season. That said, I do see this team getting back to .500, so I would tepidly suggest playing them 'over'.
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