The Who Deys from Cincinnati clinched their first AFC North title since 2005 today on a frigid and snowy day at Paul Brown Stadium. Though it was not pretty, the Bengals did what they had to do to win this one. A win is a win. The Cincinnati fans will take their second winning season since 1990 and a birth in the postseason.
Once again it was a lackluster effort for Carson Palmer as he threw for a meager 139 yards. With most of those passing yards coming on the Bengal’s final scoring drive in the 4th. The Bengals have turned into an old school type of football team. Whether you like it or not, just call the Bengals the new Pittsburgh Steelers of the AFC. They are a run first team that rides their workhorse running back Cedric Benson. And they have a very strong defense which week after week saves their offense.
Now is this such a bad thing? I mean the Steelers did win a Super Bowl just last year. It is ironic that the Steelers have become a pass first team this year. Go figure they are struggling to just get into the playoffs. Many people are questioning the Bengal’s style of play. And I am included in this group of people. I feel that with a QB that has the passing ability of Carson Palmers and receivers like Chad OchoCinco, Laverneus Coles, and Andre Caldwell, this team should have a much more wide open type of offense. The Bengal’s offense tends to be very dull and predictable all game until late in the 4th quarter. Maybe this is what is making it easy for the Bengals to move the ball on their final drives?
I cannot complain with the results in that the Who Deys are 10 and 5 and heading to the playoffs. So maybe Bratkowski has some logic behind his madness? I am still quite skeptical, but I will take the results for now. Hats off to this Bengal’s team for fighting through adversity time and time again this year. Not many teams would have the resilience that this team has demonstrated with the loss of Coach Zimmer’s wife and their teammate Chris Henry. Not easy events to deal with. But sometimes life throws curveballs at you. It is all about how you deal with these hardships. This team has not only dealt with this adversity, but they have thrived in it.
Now people do not realize just how strong this division is. If the Broncos are to lose to the Eagles today, the AFC North could get 3 teams into the playoffs. The Ravens will need to win at Oakland next week and the Steelers will need to win in Miami next week. These are all very probably events. So we could be looking at the North putting 3 teams into the playoffs. Not to mention the Browns are finally starting to look like an NFL team as they ride a 3 game winning streak.
This all could spell trouble for the Bengals in that they would have to play either the Ravens or Steelers in the first round of the playoffs. Though the Bengals have beaten both of these teams twice, it is a very tall order to beat a strong team 3 times in one season. The Steelers were able to accomplish this last year against the Ravens, but it is definitely no easy task.
In a year which opened with great exposure for the team on HBO’s Hard Knocks, which was very fun for the team and the city as a whole. People really got to delve into what NFL Training Camp is like and see what goes on behind the scenes within an NFL franchise. Then the season opened with a horrible heartbreaking loss to the Broncos. Fans seemed real down in the dumps. Then all the sudden the team started racking up wins. Now the Bengals are a contender and are in the playoffs. Hats off to the resiliency of this team. I hope they can play deep into the postseason.
Stay tuned for the next edition of the Sportskraze.