I would like to apologize for not having Two-A-Days yesterday, I was having some computer problems. Today I will preview the Bengals and the Seahawks and to make up for yesterday I will preview the the Cowboys and the Panthers tomorrow.
This idea originated from ESPN's Mike & Mike, right now I will preview the Cincinnati Bengals.
1.) Is Carson Palmer still one of the premiere QB's in the NFL?
It's closer than I thought at first. In 2009, Palmer led the Bengals to seven fourth-quarter comebacks. He still has the following guys ahead him: Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Phillip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre, and Eli Manning. Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco could also end up ahead of him. According to my current list, I have Palmer eighth, is that premiere? Not quite, just outside of that category.
2.) Can RB Cedric Benson put together another career season?
He finally broke out in 2009, with 1,251 yards in 301 attempts. You would have to expect his number of carries to decrease, thanks to the Bengals bolstering the passing attack. The offensive line is strong enough for an 1,000-yard rushing season also. Benson's number will go down, but still break the 1,000-yard mark.
3.) Who will be the wideout who puts the big play back in Cincinnati's passing game?
No matter what the duo says, Chad Ochocinco is batman to Terrell Owens' robin. Last season, Chris Henry led the team in average yards per catch, before his tragic death. Jordan Shipley had this role at Texas, but may not have enough playing time to be established as the playmaker. Antonio Bryant is more of a physical presence although he has been clutch. Terrell Owens may be this guy if he hasn't slowed down too much. Chad Ochocinco can also be the big-play man, depending on what offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski wants to do. The Bengals have several players who are capable of filling this role, but it is not clear who will.
4.) Will the defense take a step foward or backward in 2010?
The key here is Antwan Odom, who had eight sacks in four games before a season-ending injury. If Odom is healthy, the defense should improve. The rest of the defensive line is also solid, with Robert Geathers, Domato Peko, and Tank Johnson as the other three starters.
Dhani Jones is the heart of the defense and the veteran of the linebacking core. Keith Rivers has proved to be very steady and consistent as a player. Rey Maualuga made progress in 2009 considering he had never played at strongside linebacker before.
The cornerback combo of Jonathan Joseph and Leon Hall is one of the elite pairings in the league. Roy Williams and Chris Crocker are past there prime, but still get the job done at both safety spots.
The answer is step forward because of Antwan Odom's return.
5.) The Cincinnati Bengals' record will be...
10-6 and finish second in the AFC North.