Sports from the Basement

The Cincinnati Bengals’ Season Is Officially Over

We’re sorry to inform you this if you support the Cincinnati Bengals, but their season is officially over. Barring an unexpected miracle, the team won’t make the postseason and they could easily finish third in the AFC North behind the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens.

Yes, technically there are four more games on the NFL regular season schedule, but it doesn’t matter. The Bengals won’t make the playoffs, so it makes sense to start looking at the future. The sooner the better, as they can’t afford to waste the prime years of players like Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert.

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There are many factors to explain why Cincinnati won’t reach the postseason. The first one is the poor performance from the defense. A unit that was second in points against per game last year is now sitting 17th in the same department. But no one can blame the defense for the struggles. Or at laest they can’t put all the blame on them.

Offensively they’re not in a better shape either. A.J. Green might not return this season and Giovani Bernard is already ruled out for the reminder of the year. That’s two of Andy Dalton’s best weapons, so the quarterback has been forced to rely on Jeremy Hill and Eifert. Brandon LaFell hasn’t been able to replace Mohamed Sanu properly. And the rest of the receivers are yet to step their game up.

Sure, LaFell’s stat line seems nice (36 receptions, 457 yards and four TD) but he’s not a true n°1 receiver. The Bengals will have to rely much more on Eifert and rookie Tyler Boyd if they want to be successful, specially because LaFell is struggling to adjust to the system in Cincinnati.

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Green was having probably the best season of his career with 66 receptions, 964 yardas and four TDs, but he’s unlikely to return from a hamstring injury. The Bengals don’t want to rush his rehab, especially if they won’t be in contention for the final weeks of the year.

We could also add Marvin Lewis’ poor coaching to the list. Lewis has been underachieving for quite a while, and it seems he always finds a new way to lose. And Cincinnati’s record of 3-7-1 certainly doesn’t help. With Baltimore and Pittsburgh both sitting at top of the AFC North with a 6-5 mark, it would take a miracle for the Bengals to make the playoffs.

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Cincinnati still has to play against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Steelers and the Ravens at home. And they also need to visit the Cleveland Browns and the Houston Texans. It’s not an easy schedule with the exception of Cleveland, and it will prove whether Cincy is ready to make the postseason or not. But considering their absences and their recent level of play, it would be an absolute shocker if the Bengals somehow make the playoffs.

At this point, they should start to plan ahead for the 2017 NFL Draft. They need to draft as much talent as possible to return to the postseason in the near future.

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