No, I am not picking on just the Cincinnati Bengals! This just happens to be the first part of a series, "Why Your Team Won't Win The Super Bowl" that I am writing for all 32 of the NFL teams, yes, including my Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Cincinnati Bengals shocked the world in 2009, not only winning and sweeping the AFC North, but making a playoff push that many believed could take them to the Super Bowl.
The Cincinnati Bengals went, "Old School AFC Central," in 2009. Winning with a powerful running game, and a smothering defense.
Cedric Benson showed the world that the Chicago Bears made a mistake by letting him go. The days of Carson Palmer throwing the ball 30+ times per game seemed to be a thing of the past.
With the power running game, the Bengals were able to control the clock, and keep the defense off the field, and fresh.
That is the formula that both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens normally took, and both abandoned it in 2009.
The Bengals took advantage of it, and won the AFC North.
Now, normally the way things go is, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And it seems like the Bengals are trying to fix what was not broken in the first place.
Even though the Bengals had some question marks at offensive line, instead of trying to fix that, they decided to add to the weapons in Carson Palmer's arsenal.
In addition to Chad Ochocinco, the Bengals now have Antonio Bryant and Matt Jones at receiver, and used their first round pick on a Tight End with a history of injury problems in Jermaine Gresham out of Oklahoma.
Prior to 2009, the Bengals were known as a team that was more focused on a player's Madden rating than their attitude and behavior. That seemed to change in 2009, but that is changing back as well.
Brought in were Matt Jones, Frostee Rucker (returned), Tank Johnson (returned), and none other than Pacman Jones. All of these players have been in trouble in the recent years, and could damage the chemistry of the team.
Not only that, but there is also a verbal issue, tweeter style, between Chad Ochocinco and Carson Palmer.
Add all of this up, and it is pretty obvious that this is not the same team that was so successful last year.
With the considerably harder schedule, it is looking like the odds of the Bengals returning to the playoffs this year are about the same as the odds of Pacman Jones staying out of trouble—slim and none.
My prediction: Bengals finish the season at 7-9, third in the AFC North and out of the playoffs.