The Cincinnati Bengals are sitting atop of the AFC North with a 6-3 record through the first half of the season. They have had some
outstanding highlights which included two walk off victories on the road against the Buffalo Bills in overtime 27-24, on a Mike Nugent 37 yard field goal, then a week later it was Nugent again with the game winning kick this time from 54 as time expired giving the Bengals a 27-24 victory over the Detroit Lions.
The offense has been great so far, take away his three interception performance against the Miami Dolphins last Thursday night and the play in overtime where he was sacked at the goaline to end the game, and the horrid game against Cleveland in week four, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has been solid through the first half of the season, at one stretch for three straight games had 11 touchdowns to only three interceptions. Wide Receiver star A.J. Green has been nothing sort of outstanding, second in the league in receiving yards, while catching 5 touchdowns. Rookie running back Giovani Bernard has made a huge impact on the running game with a highlight real 35 yard touchdown run against the Dolphins last week. Second year receiver Marvin Jones out of California is emerging as another threat for Dalton, his four touchdown performance against the New York Jets was his coming out party.
The defense is ranked in the top of 5, thanks to the great defensive coordinator that is Mike Zimmer, but man it has taken a big hits this first half, counted 8 players are in the IR list. The notables are all pro DT Geno Atkins (torn ACL), Safety Taylor Mays (shoulder), Defensive end Robert Geathers(elbow), Cornerback Leon Hall (torn Achilles) and dont forget linebacker Rey Maualuga is out three to weeks with a knee/concussion.It will be tested for sure in the second half and how it will be the “next man up” for the defense.
For the second half it is all going to depend on how healthy the offense can stay, cause it has been injury free so far and hasn’t catch the injury bug from the defense. Dalton must be consistent and not turn over the ball, Jones must continue his breakout play from the first half, and we all wanna see more of Bernard in the running game.
The Bengals have a favorable schedule after their bye week on November 24th, three of the last five games of the regular season will be at Paul Brown Stadium where they haven’t lost this season (4-0). This week they will play on the road against the defending Super Bowl Champions Baltimore Ravens who have struggled this 1st half with a 3-5 record, but that could all change in the 2nd half because the was the mark this same Bengals team were at last season and went on to win 7 of their last 8 games. After that game, next week the surprising second place team in the division the Cleveland Browns come to PBS with a record of 4-5, they defeated Cincinnati 17-6 a month ago. The Pittsburgh Steelers are in last place in the division (2-6) and to all Bengals fans that’s a beautiful sight to see, they will to take on the Steelers in Week 16 at Pittsburgh, it will be the Sunday Night game as of right now.
My grade I will give to this team for the first half will be a solid B, they must overcome all these injuries sustanied in the defensive side and the offense must keep up the kind of play that have made them succesful in the first half.