Opponent Scouting Report: Cincinnati Bengals

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 23: Jamar Taylor /

The Cincinnati Bengals had a rare down year in 2016,  but an infusion of young talent could lead to a trip back to the playoffs.

The Bengals had made the postseason in five consecutive years before last season, but a crumbling offensive line and a regression on defense led to a 6-9-1 season.

Cincinnati still has the cornerstones of their franchise in Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, but they will have a vastly different supporting cast in 2017.


The Bengals ranked 26th in QB sacked percentage last season, and they lost their only good offensive lineman this offseason by letting Andrew Whitworth walk in free agency.

Whitworth was one of the league’s most consistent offensive linemen, and his absence will leave an enormous void protecting Andy Dalton’s blind side.

Left guard Clint Boling and center Russell Bodine are capable of playing at an average level, but the other three spots on the line are filled by below-average performers.

Tackles Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher have a combined four seasons of NFL experience with 16 combined starts, and right guard Andre Smith has looked old and battered for the past couple of seasons. This offensive line could hold back an offense that has a ton of skill position talent.


The linebacker position is a clear strength for Cincinnati as Vontaze Burfict and Vincent Rey form one of the NFL’s best duos.

Andy Dalton will have plenty of weapons to throw to in 2017 as A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert are both healthy to begin training camp. The Bengals also spent the ninth overall pick on the fastest player in NFL Combine history in WR John Ross, and second-round pick Joe Mixon is a skilled receiver out of the backfield.

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The Bengals and Colts will both enter the season as potential Wild Card contenders in the AFC, and their matchup in Week 8 could have an enormous effect on the playoff picture.

Cincinnati has the stronger defensive unit, but if the game comes down to a quarterback duel, Andrew Luck will win that nine times out of ten.

In case you missed it, here are the scouting reports for the rest of the teams on Indianapolis’ 2017 schedule: