Living up to the hype

A review of week one and what to expect from the Cincinnati Bengals

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The Cincinnati Bengals have been receiving praise from everywhere about the talent and potential that the team possesses. This past Sunday, they lived up to the hype.

The Bengals traveled to the west coast to face off against the Oakland Raiders in the season opener. They really dominated this game from start to finish in a 33-13 victory over Oakland. Running back Jeremy Hill picked up right where he left off last season by gaining 63 yards on 19 carries and scoring two touchdowns on the ground. Giovani Bernard was also effective by matching Hill’s yardage on just eight attempts.

But it wasn’t just the run game that was working offensively for the Bengals. Quarterback Andy Dalton had a solid performance as he completed 25 of 34 pass attempts for 269 yards and two touchdowns. Dalton’s favorite target, A.J. Green, hauled in five catches for 63 yards. However, Green’s stat line was not the most impressive of Cincinnati’s pass catchers. The real star of the game was tight end Tyler Eifert. Eifert caught nine passes while racking up 104 yards and catching both of Dalton’s touchdown tosses.

The defense was also dominant. They held the Raiders scoreless until the fourth quarter and forced two turnovers in this game. Adam Jones led the way with ten tackles and a forced fumble. Reggie Nelson also helped out by intercepting a pass from Raider quarterback Matt McGloin. The defensive line was getting it done as well with Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap each tallying up their first sack of the new season.

Hopefully week one was an indication of how the rest of the season will go.

The Bengals come in to the 2015 season with varying expectations. Some people will say that this is the year they finally advance in the postseason. However, others may say that the Bengals could miss the playoffs entirely.

In an article written by Kirk Larrabee, both views are portrayed.

The Bengals came in at number 11 in ESPN’s preseason power rankings. Coley Harvey of ESPN projects them to finish the regular season with ten wins and six losses. Harvey would go on to say that “for the first time in a generation, there will be pride in February in Cincinnati.” He has made it clear that he expects the Bengals to not only qualify for the postseason, but also win a game once they get there.

However, not everyone is as optimistic about this season as Harvey. In the same article written by Larrabee, Sports Illustrated’s Greg Bedard projects the Bengals to finish with just six wins and ten losses. Clearly, he thinks that they will not win a postseason game for the first time since 1991 because they will not get the opportunity.

So what do the fans and employees of the Bengals expect coming in to a brand new season?

I decided to ask my uncle JT what he thought. JT is not only a proud Bengals fan, but he also is the manager of reserve ticket sales for the Bengals. In his opinion, they could be one of the top teams in the AFC. He believes that the key to success is health. He says that when healthy “the offensive line and skill position players are the best in the business.” He would add that the defensive is very deep at many positions.

JT also thinks that the home field advantage of Paul Brown Stadium plays a big role in the success of the team. “They’ve played well at home in the past few years and the fans have played a big part in that,” he said.

So finally we reached the big question. Did he think that the Bengals could reach the playoffs and if they did would they advance? He responded by saying he sees the Bengals reaching the post season for the fifth straight year and he is “optimistic about their chance to advance.” The way he sees it, the Bengals have just as much talent as anyone in the AFC and there is no reason why they could not make a playoff run.

The Bengals have been receiving both positive and negative predictions for the upcoming season. Hopefully for us fans, they will only live up to the positive ones during the regular season and make us all very proud come playoff time.

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