In the past three games, the Cincinnati Bengals have shown the league what they are capable of doing. The Bengals have utilized the offensive weapons that have been on the shelf waiting to be put on display. Andy Dalton has toys to attack with, and it’s translated into a 10-2 record. The defense is balling out of control. This is definitely a complete team.
The Bengals are dialed in and have switched to destroy mode. In the last three games, they have scored 99 points and allowed 44. The possible Super Bowl preview against the Cardinals was the only blemish during the stretch. Cincinnati didn’t come out focused in the third quarter and it showed. The defense was reeling from sudden injuries, and Carson Palmer exploited the confusion. Arizona hung 21 points on the Bengals defense.
Over the past three weeks, the Bengals defense has allowed only 14.6 points per game. If the abysmal play in the Week 11 game is deleted and the stats reworked to average, that number drops to an astounding 7.6 points per battle.
The offense is just as scary as the defense
The Bengals have adjusted and tweaked their attack under the guidance of Hue Jackson. Jeremy Hill seems to be finding his mojo and the balance is crazy. With the newfound scheme, the Bengals are averaging 262.3 yards passing per game and 124 rushing yards. That may not seem like a lot. But when used effectively, it can be a headache to defend. Coordinators don’t know what to plan for.
That’s the nerve-racking essence of the Cincinnati Bengals offense. There’s no way to plan for a certain aspect or part of the personnel. Each week, there’s the possibility of a different player getting big numbers or a particular game plan being used. To say the Bengals are one-dimensional is setting the scene for disaster.
Defensive pressure is the name of the game
With the departure of Mike Zimmer, the thinking was simple. Suddenly, the Bengals would suffer on the defensive side of the ball and have to look for another coordinator. That didn’t happen. The organization promoted from within and named Paul Guenther the new sheriff in town. With his hiring, the Bengals’ defense hasn’t missed a beat. They’ve come out smoking and haven’t looked back.
The tide has shifted and the unit has Burfict back–and a few new pieces–to create chaos. The Bengals defense is sitting pretty, with a top ten ranking. They’re also one of the stingiest units in the league. The Cincinnati defense is ranked as best in the NFL, according to ESPN statistics compiled on points allowed.
A big reason for the success of the Bengals’ defense has been due to their ability to force 32 sacks and snag 15 interceptions. The Bengals have been petitioning to have Geno Atkins named the Defensive Player of the Year due to his 23 tackles, eight sacks, and one forced fumble. Atkins has been complimented by the play of Carlos Dunlap, who has 9.5 sacks of his own from the defensive end position.
The Cincinnati Bengals have turned into a complete team. Now they have to complete the season with a dominant playoff run.
[Feature Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images]