I put the task on the writers for WhoDeyFans to do a prediction for the 2011 season for the Bengals and why, below is our thoughts and as you will see compared to the national media, optimism may run high around here.
Jared - Prediction: 6-10
For the Bengals 2011 Season I am predicting a 6-10 finish. The weak start to the schedule will help the team keep games close, maybe win a game or two against a bad 49er team or Jacksonville team, which hopefully will pave the way to greater confidence when things get a little tougher. I think the new offensive system, combined with rookie QB will be too much to overcome early on. The Steelers look better, the Ravens a little worse (but we don’t have Raven-killer Carson Palmer), and the Browns have stepped up a half-notch, though I expect to split with them. So I see wins vs. SF, Cle, Buff (though they own Cincy lately), Jax, Zona, and one upset somewhere along the way, hopefully vs. Pit or Balt. (I want to say Seattle, but Marvin can never get the team to travel out west and win – Damn you 2009 Oakland game!)
Brandon - Prediction: 6-10
My prediction for the year is 6-10. I think with how the schedule is played out, the Bengals will win early, but that is about it. The youth of this team will kick in around week five and we’ll be unable to compete. I can see the Bengals winning 3 of the first 4, but then falling until week 9. I hope I’m dead wrong, but this inexperienced team will show, but will be competitive in 2012.
Bill -Prediction: 4-12
For most of the offseason, I have been expecting a 4-12 season. After a good showing against the Panthers in the “dress rehearsal” of preseason games last week coupled with continued roster tweaking (Mays and Jennings), my heart wants to raise those expectations. But my head says to stay steady, so I am holding at 4-12. The talent on the roster is exciting, and the potential waiting to emerge is immense. But the learning curve facing Andy Dalton and the offense is unavoidable, and it will take its toll on this season.
The way I look at it, no matter what the record looks like at the end of this season, it will bring good things for 2012. If I am right at 4-12, then the Bengals will have another set of high picks to bolster the lines and secondary through another solid draft. But if they surprise us and end up 6-10 (or higher… dare I say it?), then we will gladly take lower picks for greater confidence in the emerging talent already on the team, since it will mean fewer needs to fill through the draft. Either way, the team and the fans win! We just have to see what this season brings us in the mean time.
Eric - Prediction: 6-10 or 8-8
The Bengals have a much better schedule this year, at least on paper. Several of their opponents look beatable—particularly early on. Cleveland, Buffalo, San Francisco and Denver are teams the Bengals could hang with and beat, even with some mistakes from the new offense. Having these games early in the season is key as Dalton, Green and company get their legs under them. Two or three wins before the bye week—even sloppy ones—should serve to build confidence in the youngsters that will pay dividends as the season wears on. After their week seven break, the Bengal offense should be game enough to make a run at mediocre clubs like Tennessee, Seattle, Arizona, St. Louis, and the Browns again.
Of course Zimmer’s defense needs to be on-point, and the offense needs to minimize turnovers and concentrate on the power running game. Oh, and pray for no injuries to key players.
Nick - Prediction: 7-9
I know that this is highly optimistic on my part. I think they’ll split the season series with the Browns and finish 1-5 in the division. I think that they’ll manage wins over the Niners, Jaguars, Seahawks, Titans, Browns, Rams and Cardinals. Cedric Benson is going to have 1000 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving. I’m also predicting that Jordan Shipley will end up with more receiving yards than Jerome Simpson only because he hasn’t shown me much this preseason.
Enjoy Browns week everybody!
Adam George - Prediction: 8-8
with wins against the Browns at Cleveland, @ SanFran, Buffalo, Jacksonville, Seattle, Pitt, Cleveland, St. Louis. Adam has the Bengals looking at a .500 season.
Number 1 Fan - Prediction: 8-8
I wanted to go 7 and 9 here. After the Carolina game I thought the Bengals had a legitimate chance at a .500 season. The run D looks tough, the run O looks tough. In the NFL that alone can keep you in a game. Then I look at what kind of QB Dalton is going to be this season. If he has to win the games for the Bengals like in 2009, I think the Bengals will not have that kind of success. If he has to be a game manager and just not lose the game, then I think the Bengals will shock some teams this season. I do have the Bengals starting 2 and 0 on the road. Then they should do fine in their first home game. A 3 and 0 start to the season could easily slide into a 5 and 8 finish. I do think the Bengals are going to be in some of the games they lose. If they can pop a big play, or create one more turnover in those situations, you never know.
Nate – Prediction 5-11
After last year’s colossal disappointment, I have sworn off the Kool-Aid this season, and am looking at things from a more realistic perspective. What’s interesting to me is that the Bengals could start extremely hot, perhaps as well as 4-1 if things fall into place. But after Jacksonville in Week 5, the Bengals may not be a favorite for a long time. Like Seubs, I expect Jordan Shipley to be near the team lead in receptions with Jermaine Gresham right there as well. Even though there’s talent on the outside with A.J. Green and Jerome Simpson, I’m not sure Cincinnati’s line will hold up well enough to take advantage. On the other side, I’m expecting Rey Maualuga to revive his career and serve as the MVP of the defense. I also think that Week 1 is an enormous game for this year’s team. If they can somehow steal a win in Cleveland, the Bengals could have a winning record in the first quarter of the season. Overall, I’m expecting a very frustrating year in which the team shows flashes of outstanding football, but also makes some critical mistakes due to youth or lack of discipline. In short, I’m expecting a typical Bengals season, which isn’t good. Sigh…
Timm – Prediction 5-11
As much as I would love to paint a better picture for the season, it is difficult to imagine a scenario where Andy Dalton can put it all together quickly without the benefit of a normal offseason. Some of our most favorable matchups are early, and I think we will take a few lumps in these winnable games. I think our first win will be a hex-breaker against the Buffalo Bills in Cincy on October 2nd. I think we will beat Tennessee, Cleveland at home, and we will shock the Arizona Cardinals on Christmas Eve, followed by Dalton’s signature win vs. the Ravens. The team should be in position to be a playoff contender in 2012.