Cincinnati Bengals Bandwagon Filling Up Fast As 2009 Expectations Grow

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Cincinnati Bengals Bandwagon Filling Up Fast As 2009 Expectations Grow
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Alright everyone, it’s only May and I’m already concerned about the Cincinnati Bengals. Here’s the problem; everyone from Bill Cowher to my mom is picking the Bengals to surprise people this season.

And if I’ve learned one thing in the last 18 years of losing, it’s that if Bill Cowher and my mom think that the Bengals are going to surprise some people, not only are they not going to surprise anyone, but they’re going to play so bad that I’ll be fighting some sort of meth, heroin or alcohol addiction halfway through the season.

The problem here is that I agree with the the two of them (meth addiction here I come). This season, I think that the Bengals are going to turn more heads then Bar Rafaeli in a string bikini.

Let’s start with the ‘O’. Last year the Bengal offense was exciting... in the same way that documentaries on naked mole rats are exciting. Going from Carson Palmer to Ryan Fitzpatrick was like going from a filet mignon to fast food; the quarterback change wasn’t a step down for the Bengals offense, it was more like falling down a flight of stairs into a children's swimming pool filled with broken glass.

For the Bengals to be successful this season it’s pretty obvious that Carson Palmer has to stay healthy. For a quarterback to do that, he needs a solid offensive line in front of him.The last time the Bengals had one of those I was wearing diapers and trying to kick my addiction to breast milk.

Last year’s 35-3 loss to Indianapolis is a prime example of what’s wrong with the O-line. Dwight Freeney set up a tent, a camp fire and celebrated a birthday in the Bengals backfield during the game. No one could stop him, if I didn’t know any better; I would say the Bengals game plan against Freeney went something like this:

 

Coach Zimmer

"Alright guys, remember whoever doesn’t block Dwight Freeney wins the $100 Skyline Chili gift certificate. And Whitworth, you won last week’s contest for successfully missing all 41 blocks you attempted against the Ravens. Great job, maybe Fitzpatrick will let you have his spleen that he had to have removed after the game."

 

O-Line

"Coach, even if Dwight Freeney was in Stephen Hawking's wheelchair we couldn't block him, can we just have the gift certificates now so we can use them before the game?"

There’s no doubt that picking Andre Smith at number six overall in the draft had to be done, what’s in doubt is Smith’s work ethic. For most of the college season, he looked like Orlando Pace’s younger, super athletic twin brother as he pancaked people left and right.

However, when he showed up at the combine 5,000 pounds overweight, he looked like he was eating pancakes instead of dishing them out. If the line gets their act together early on and Carson’s elbow doesn’t blow out like Tom Brady’s left knee, the Bengal offense will be alright.

 

And don’t worry about the receivers. Ocho Cinco likes money a lot and if he wants to make more of it in the future, then he’ll play hard. The TJ Houshmandzadeh loss isn’t as bad as it seems thanks to the signing of Laveranues Coles. Sure Coles is old, dilapitated and he's lost a step, but he doesn't have a DUI.

I imagine the loss of Housh is going to be a lot like season 3 of Fresh Prince when the actress who played Will's Aunt got the boot. At first everyone was in shock, until about episode two when everyone forgot the original lady’s name. By week nine, I fully expect the words “TJ who?” to be coming out of the collective mouths of Bengal nation.

For years, maybe decades, the problem with the Bengals has been the defense. Since 1991, no team has been intimidated by the Bengals because they always seemed to play defense like they were in the world's biggest pillow fight.

That’s now going to change. If murder was legal, Tank Johnson would rule the world. I’m afraid of this man, I’m afraid to be in the same stadium as him, I'm even afraid to be in the same zip code as him. Johnson’s signing combined with the addition of Georgia Tech super freak Michael Johnson is going to do wonders for the defensive line.

I'm not going to worry about the linebackers either, Ray Maualuga and Keith Rivers probably punch each other in the face for fun in between eating small children.

When the 2009 defense steps on the field, the pillow fights are over and I'm going to say it, I think the defense is going to be better then last year’s unit which finished the season ranked 12th in the league. 

Oh and here's a brief aside for everyone, do you think it’s written down somewhere that the Bengals have to have four Johnsons on the roster at all times. Rudi leaves for Detroit and Chad changes his name, so the Bengals add Michael and Tank, makes prefect sense to me.

So now I suppose its time to convince you why the Bengals are going to run over everyone in their path this season. When the Bengals made the playoffs in 2005, they tortured the NFC North. The Bengals were Jack Bauer, NFC North teams were the terrorists.

So in case you missed the national holiday that is the NFL schedule release, here’s what the Bengals learned. Not only do they play the NFC North/terrorists, but they also play the Jets, Raiders and the Browns twice. That’s the equivalent of nine wins. Now you’re probably thinking:

“John, that math doesn’t really add up.”

But it does. Games against the Browns are practically byes, so the team will be well-rested for any games after Cleveland, which this year happens to be the Ravens and Lions.

And yes, you read that right; the Bengals play the Browns and Lions in consecutive weeks.

Wait, I can even do you one better: in November the Bengals actually have the Raiders, Browns and Lions in three successive weeks.

That’s like getting the whole month off. J.T. O’Sullivan could quarterback all four games in November and we’d still go 3-1. Hell, David Klingler could QB half the month and the Bengals could probably still scrape together a winning record.

Let me just put it this way, the only other time in team history the Bengals went 4-11 in a season (Donovan McNabb doesn’t think the tie happened, so I don’t count it towards our 2008 record) was 1987.

They followed up that pathetic showing with a trip to Super Bowl XXIII. Where was that game played? Miami.

Who’s hosting Super Bowl XLIV? Miami. I’m just saying, you might want to start looking at plane tickets, I heard their pretty cheap right now. Remember, call your bookie and bet your parents mortgage on 10-6 because that's what the Bengals 2009 record will be.

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