For fans accustomed to their team losing in the first round of the playoffs, last season was particularly disappointing as the team failed to even qualify for the postseason. This season, with their jobs on the line, head coach Marvin Lewis and quarterback Andy Dalton are looking to get back into the tournament.
Last season: 6-9-1
Subtractions: LT Andrew Whitworth, RG Kevin Zeitler
Additions: WR Brandon LaFell, LB Kevin Minter
Notable rookies: WR John Ross, RB Joe Mixon, LB Jordan Willis
Analysis: Football season must be upon us; Vontaze Burfict is being disciplined by the league. The talented, mercurial linebacker landed a dirty hit in the preseason and was hit with a five-game suspension. Burfict and star tight end Tyler Eifert are in contract years and need to produce when they’re on the field. Joining the Bengals offense are rookie speed demon John Ross and physical, explosive running back Joe Mixon, who fell in the draft because of a domestic violence incident caught on tape. He’s hardly the team’s only player who’s had character concerns. In the running back room, Mixon joins Giovani Bernard, who is coming off an ACL tear, and Jeremy Hill, who is in a contract year. All-world receiver AJ Green returns from a week 11 hamstring strain and slots into his old WR1 spot. The offensive line is in flux this season after the departures of Kevin Zeitler and Andrew Whitworth. Cedric Ogbuehi, who struggled at right tackle last season, will move to left tackle. The defense also has questions at defensive end and cornerback, where Adam Jones be the age of 34. While 2016 1st round pick William Jackson waits in the wings. Marvin Lewis has made the playoffs in seven of his fourteen seasons as head coach but has never won a playoff game. Emerging victorious in a playoff game may be the only thing that can extend Lewis’ tenure with the team.