Oct 5, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) passes the ball during the second quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports
Just before the 2014 NFL season began, we made some predictions about what the Cincinnati Bengals were likely to do on a game-by-game basis. On the whole, the Bengals have shaped up to be about what we thought they were, wrapping up their first four games with a 3-1 record.
What we didn’t anticipate was just how exciting this team could be and that they would spend much of the first month in the discussion around the best teams in football. Alas, last weekend’s blowout at the hands of the New England Patriots has taken some of the shine off the orange-and-black stripes, but there is still plenty of good happening on the Riverfront.
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With the benefit of four games’ worth of experience, here are our updated predictions for the remaining 12 games on the Bengals’ 2014 regular-season schedule:
Week 6 vs. Carolina Panthers: The Panthers had some believers before the season started, and they look to be at least as tough as predicted. Still, the Bengals will bounce back from the poor showing in New England with a home win. Win
Week 7 at Indianapolis Colts: Don’t look now, but the Colts have run off three straight victories and seem to be getting stronger each week. It will be tough for Cincy to come out of Indy with a win. Loss
Week 8 vs. Baltimore Ravens: We’re flip-flopping on this one, because the Ravens have played well enough, and this rivalry is fierce enough, to think that Baltimore can avenge a Week 1 loss. Loss
Week 9 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: I was wrong about this one: Jacksonville is not on the rise. An easy Bengals’ victory. Win
Week 10 vs. Cleveland Browns: Cleveland needed a miracle to win on Sunday, and they’d need an even bigger one to win in Cincinnati. Won’t happen. Win
Week 11 at New Orleans Saints: The Saints have not been playing well, but they will be tough at home. The Bengals will use one of their trick plays to gain the upper hand in The Big Easy. Win
Week 12 at Houston Texans: The Texans have a decent record a quarter of the way through 2014, but they’re pretenders. Bengals win. Win
Week 13 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Another team I overestimated, the Bucs don’t stand much of a chance against a playoff-hungry Bengals squad. Win
Week 14 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers are still an unknown, but the Bengals will be too much for them, no matter which Pittsburgh team shows up. Win
Week 15 at Cleveland Browns: See Week 10. Being at home won’t help the Browns much. Win
Week 16 vs. Denver Broncos: Peyton Manning will carry the day as the Broncos wrap up another playoff-bound season. Loss
Week 17 at Pittsburgh Steelers: At home in the final game of the season, the Steelers will either be fighting for a playoff spot or eager to cost the Bengals. Either way, Cincinnati won’t escape unscathed. Loss
A couple of our individual game predictions have changed since August, and the Bengals are slightly better than we thought they’d be. Sitting at the quarter pole of the 2014 season, our projection for Cincinnati is an 11-5 record and another AFC North division title.