An Early Cincinnati Bengals Record Prediction

Cincinnati Bengals Record
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With training camp starting up, it’s time to take a shot at how the Cincinnati Bengals might actually perform this season. Let’s take a look, game by game, and give a best guess at win or loss, and the overall Cincinnati Bengals record.

An Early Prediction of the Cincinnati Bengals Record

Week 1 – Minnesota Vikings

Tough matchup to start the year. The Minnesota Vikings defense is quite likely to bounce back from the terrible showing last year, Mike Zimmer won’t allow that kind of performance again. It will be close but ultimately the Bengals will fall just short of winning their home opener.

Week 2 – @ Chicago Bears

Will this be another rematch with former Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton? Or will the Chicago Bears have turned to Justin Fields? This will be a close game, but this time Cincinnati may just come out on top. Tough defensive matchup just like Week 1, but  Bengals offense should get into more of a groove now that Joe Burrow has a game under his belt. W

Week 3 – @ Pittsburgh Steelers 

Can’t see the Bengals winning back to back against the Pittsburgh Steelers yet. Even though Cincinnati may actually turn out to be the better team this year, I expect the Steelers, and particularly Ben Roethlisberger, to start hot and fool people (ala 2020) before falling off. The Bengals should keep it close but ultimately Heinz Field continues to be a boogeyman for the team. L

Week 4 – Jacksonville Jaguars (TNF)

Burrow vs Trevor Lawrence. A rematch of the 2019 College Football Championship that will feature no fewer than eight (!) players from the game. As well as the only primetime game for the Bengals this season (at least so far).  Should be one for the ages right? Probably not. Instead, we’ll get a snooze-fest of both teams failing to get anything going on offense because Thursday Night Football. Still, the Bengals win here off of an Evan McPherson game-winning FG. W

Week 5 – Green Bay Packers

With Aaron Rodgers back on deck with the Packers for 2021, that makes for a much tougher matchup for Cincinnati. If the defensive line can get some pressure the team has a chance, but Rodgers can harm the defense enough to win in a shootout. L

Week 6 – @ Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions don’t have a lot going for them on either side of the ball, outside of a top notch offensive line. Cincinnati is clearly the better team here, and they should show that in their most commanding win of the year so far. W

Week 7 – @ Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens have had Cincinnati’s number lately, with five straight wins. Oddly enough, the games have been more competitive when the Bengals visit M&T Bank Stadium, so it will likely once again be a close matchup. Still, Cincinnati fails to get their first victory in Baltimore since 2017 as they once again struggle to contain Lamar Jackson on the ground. L

Week 8 – @ New York Jets

On the road against what will likely be a struggling New York Jets team, Cincinnati should bounce back from a tough Baltimore loss with a solid, but still competitive win. Carl Lawson will record at least one sack on Joe Burrow in his first game against his old team. W

Week 9 – Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns have won five of the last six Battle of Ohio matchups and has one of the most complete teams in the division. But anything can happen in the AFC North so I’m gonna give Cincinnati a surprising upset to give them back to back wins headed into the bye in Week 10. W

Week 11 – @ Las Vegas Raiders

The Bengals seem to always come out flat after a bye week. Going on the road isn’t any help. Therefore, this will likely be a disappointing loss in a very winnable matchup. Unfortunately killing the momentum of back to back wins. L

Week 12 – Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh does not look as promising this year. Despite losing on the road earlier in the season, Cincinnati may handily win here. By this point Roethlisberger will likely be showing his age, and it will sink the team around him. Joe Burrow notches his first win against Pittsburgh. W

Week 13 – Los Angeles Chargers

Last year’s Week 1 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers was a pretty boring affair where neither offense could get anything going. It should be the opposite this time around, with a shootout between Burrow and Justin Herbert. Both second year quarterbacks will be in the midst of great seasons. The edge goes to Los Angeles with the superior defense. L

Week 14 – San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers, if healthy, will be one of the toughest matchups on the schedule for the new offensive line. Fortunately for Cincinnati, they won’t have to travel to the west coast. The real question here is will Trey Lance be starting at this point of the season or will they still be rolling with Jimmy Garoppolo? Ultimately, it probably will not make much difference for Cincinanti. San Francisco’s defense is just too good, and they are loaded on offense as well. L

Week 15 – @ Denver Broncos

Drew Lock might have been benched at this point for Teddy Bridgewater, but neither quarterback should scare the Bengals. The defense has a good chance to put up a great performance, shutting down the Denver Broncos offense and forcing multiple turnovers. Denver’s defense is strong, so it will be the same story for the Bengals offense. Ultimately close throughout, Cincinnati ekes out a win to avoid a three game losing streak. W

Week 16 – Baltimore Ravens

This will be a real test. Do the Bengals finally get a win against the Ravens? Or does their dominance against Cincinnati continue? The last few matchups at home have featured some embarrassing blowouts as well. Optimistically the Bengals put up a good fight but fall late. L

Week 17 – Kansas City Chiefs

This Bengals team isn’t quite ready to hang with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Their offense will likely run all over the Bengals defense and put up a ton of points. L

Week 18 @ Cleveland Browns

Like Baltimore this is another real test. It’s possible that the Browns have locked up the division and seeding in the playoffs and rest starters here, but more likely they will have something meaningful to play for. Expect a split on the season series so with Cincinnati winning at home and the Browns possibly needing this to capture the division/playoffs. L

Final record: 7-10 

Rough stretch to close the season. Dropping three straight (and four of five) after starting 6-5 has to sting. Even though expectations aren’t high for the team, you want them to finish stronger than that.

The Bengals are clearly a team on the rise. They’ve taken some great steps to improve from last year: upgrading the offensive line, adding some fresh faces to the secondary in free agency, and beefing up the defensive line in the draft and free agency. But the defense will still be hamstrung by Lou Anarumo, who has only shown he should not be an NFL defensive coordinator. And while the offense should be explosive with the return of Burrow and the addition of Ja’Marr Chase, there will be growing pains and question marks. 

Will Burrow be ready both physically and mentally to start the year? Will the new offensive line gel properly under Frank Pollack? Does Chase seamlessly transition to the NFL and pick up where he left off with Burrow after a year off? 

If the answer to all of those is a resounding yes and the team stays healthy? Then perhaps this is a team challenging for the playoffs down the stretch. If a no, or injuries pile up (again), then this is likely a five-win team (or worse) picking in the top 10 again.

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