There comes a time in every Cincinnati Bengals fan’s life (Usually around playoff time every year), when you ask yourself “Why in the world am I still a fan of this team?” It is agreed that being a Bengals fan is very frustrating most times. Common conversation among Bengals enthusiasts and enemies alike sounds something like this:
-Honestly, I just want them to win 1 playoff game. I don’t care if they lose the next 7 in a row again after that.
-Monday Morning: Did you hear the news? Pac-Man Jones made it through the weekend without getting arrested.
-Maybe this will be the year Marvin Lewis finally gets fired!
-Vontaze Burfict is only suspended the first 3 games this year so we should get off to a hot start.
-The Bengals should have beat the Steelers in the 2015 Wild Card game. Joey Porter should have been flagged too. The refs definitely fixed the game ,etc, etc.
Here is why there is still hope, that this core group of players still can get the job done come playoff time when it counts.
First, the main issue is the health of 4 of their key offensive playmakers (Andy Dalton, Gio Bernard, AJ Green, and Tyler Eifert). Since 2013 the Bengals have had 67 games, regular and post season. These 4 players have only been on the field together during 32 of these games. For those of you counting at home that is just under 48% of games. The Bengals still have been productive enough to make the playoffs 3 out of 4 years and win the division twice. Digging a little deeper into the statistics of the games that they missed we discovered that their record when all 4 players are healthy at the same time drastically improved.
Cincinnati Bengals record involving Andy Dalton, Gio Bernard, AJ Green, and Tyler Eifert since 2013:
-With all 4 players on the field: 21-10-1
-With 1 player out: 9-7
-With 2 players out: 7-8-1
-With 3 players out: 1-2
The Bengals have shown that they can compete with the best teams in the league week in and week out during the regular season, but key injuries have taken a toll on this team through the past 4 years.
Looking deeper at when the Bengals played four traditionally good teams in the AFC (New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos, and Baltimore Ravens).
-Their overall record against these teams: 10-13
–Overall record when all 4 players are on the field: 5-2
-When Eifert is out: 4-7
-When Bernard is out: 1-4
-When Dalton is out: 1-3
-When Green is out: 2-2
-When multiple players are out: 2-5
This team can not only compete, but play a major role in the AFC this year. Only if they can avoid having a key player miss extended playing time. Add in playmakers like John Ross and Joe Mixon and this team has the potential to surprise a lot of fans.