Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Cincinnati Bengals aka Rick "The Model" Martel

Rick “The Model” Martel used to come down to the ring with a sweater rapped around his neck and a bottle of spray called “Arrogance”. His arrogance far outweighed his wrestling ability. He had success under a previous gimmick with Tito Santana (Strike Force) but as “The Model” he was all talk.

The Bengals have been a team on the rise for quite some time. They finished 8-8 in each of the last two seasons which isn’t anything to write home about but for the Bengals it’s reason to be jubilant. Chad Johnson has a fever and the only prescription is to guarantee more victory. Johnson thinks so highly of himself that he sent care packages of Pepto-Bismal to the Cleveland Browns secondary to calm their fears of playing against him. The fact of the matter is that the Bengals are mediocre. They have a very good head coach but they’re far from a dangerous team.

Carson Palmer grew a lot last year. His receiving corps is very deep with Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and Kelley Washington. Palmer should be better this year but I don’t think he’ll be a super star-caliber quarterback for another year or two. Rudi Johnson is a dependable running back and Chris Perry will likely get more carries. The Bengals have a big offensive line led by Willie Anderson and Levi Jones. Despite having a talented offense and putting up 58 against the Browns, they scored 17 or less points in seven games last season. The offense needs to be more consistent. As a warning, don’t waste your time with Chad Johnson in fantasy football. Palmer spreads the ball around to all four receivers. You’re better off picking up somebody else. Trust me on this.

The Bengals have major issues on defense. First round pick David Pollack will add some speed off the end but that certainly doesn’t make up for the lack of talent on the defense. Justin Smith gets the “Mike Mamula” award for being the player who made the most out of a pre-draft workout without actually being good. Remember how awesome he was supposed to be coming out of Missouri? Shouldn't that have been a warning sign that he played college football at Missouri? Deltha O’Neal is a decent corner but it’s important to remember that the Broncos were desperately looking to upgrade their secondary when they had O’Neal on the team. If the Broncos don’t like you, then something is wrong. Meanwhile, I had to do a double take when I saw former Michigan CB Brandon Williams on an NFL roster. I don’t now how this happened but this is proof that there’s hope for all of us.

The Bengals have some flair but they’re an immature team with a bad defense. That’s generally not a good combination. The schedule is favorable in the fact that they get two guaranteed victories over Cleveland. However, it also means playing Baltimore and Pittsburgh twice each. They might get one win out of that group which means 3-3 in the division is possible. They matchup against the NFC North which means tough games against Minnestoa, GB, and Detroit with Chicago as a possible win. I would say 2-2 is a good possibility there. Houston, Jax, and Tennessee provides three winnable games which should yield two wins. That leaves Indy, Buffalo, and KC. They won’t beat Indy or KC. Buffalo is a possibility.

Predicted record: 8-8 again

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