It’s that time! And boy am I glad! The preseason is over and the Bengals came out of it with a 3-1 record and with more reasons for optimism than pessimism in my opinion. The most important thing is that they did not suffer any major injuries to key players.
Back in April I posted my early 2018 Bengals game-by-game predictions and had them finishing with 10 wins and 6 losses. I decided to give it another go now that training camp and the preseason games are complete.
2018 Regular Season Win/Loss Predictions
Week 1 – 9/9, at Indianapolis Colts, 1pm ET
I’m sticking with my original feeling from back in April on this one. I think Andrew Luck will have some rust he needs to shake off still in his first regular season game in a year and a half. I think the Bengals will win more battles in 2 areas: the Bengals defensive line vs the Colts offensive line and also the Bengals receivers vs the Colts secondary, and that will be enough in the end.
Result: WIN Record: 1-0
Week 2 – 9/13, vs Baltimore Ravens, 8:20pm ET
Andy Dalton played much better last season against “common” opponents. The Athletic’s Joe Goodberry recently did a nice job of breaking down Dalton’s progress against teams the Bengals face in back-to-back seasons and against divisional opponents since Bill Lazor has taken over as coordinator. I think that trend continues in the home opener against Flacco and the Ravens.
Result: WIN Record: 2-0
Week 3 – 9/23, at Carolina Panthers, 1pm ET
The Panthers offensive line has suffered several losses due to injury during the preseason including starting LT Matt Kalil for at least 8 games. I think this will be a close game but I believe the Bengals defensive line will own the line of scrimmage and get after Cam Newton in this one.
Result: WIN Record: 3-0
Week 4 – 9/30, at Atlanta Falcons, 1pm ET
I have a hard time seeing this one go in the Bengals favor. Atlanta could be in the Super Bowl conversation come seasons end and this will be a hostile environment on the road. Like the Bengals, the Falcons have a ton of weapons and this could turn into a shootout but I’ll predict the Bengals lose their first game here.
Result: Loss Record: 3-1
Week 5 – 10/7, vs Miami Dolphins, 1pm ET
The Dolphins could have a decent defense this year and I can’t forget how Cameron Wake has made life miserable for Dalton in the past, but I also think Cincy’s defense will make life extremely difficult for Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins offense in this one.
Result: WIN Record: 4-1
Week 6 – 10/14, vs Pittsburgh Steelers, 1pm ET
Based on the Bengals poor track record against Pittsburgh during the Marvin Lewis era, especially at home, I still do not feel confident when we play the Steelers. The Bengals just can’t play well enough to win for 4 quarters.
Result: Loss Record: 4-2
Week 7 – 10/21, at Kansas City Chiefs, 1pm ET
I think the Chiefs will have a great offense this year and this game will be a high scoring affair. The Bengals have not been able to consistently stop tight ends and the Chiefs have one of the best in Travis Kelce. I think KC wins a close one at home.
Result: Loss Record: 4-3
Week 8 – 10/28, vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1pm ET
I believe Tampa will be a “bottom of the barrel” team this season. I think the Bengals win convincingly at home.
Result: WIN Record: 5-3
Week 9 – BYE
Week 10 – 11/11, vs New Orleans Saints, 1pm ET
Like the Falcons I think the Saints will have a high powered offense and also be a Super Bowl contender this season. This will be another big test for the Bengals at home and I think they pull off the upset in this one.
Result: WIN Record: 6-3
Week 11 – 11/18, at Baltimore Ravens, 1pm ET
These games are usually close and often come down to the wire (see 2014, 2015, and 2017 in Baltimore), but I think the Bengals win another close one in the 4th quarter and sweep the series with the Ravens this season.
Result: WIN Record: 7-3
Week 12 – 11/25, vs Cleveland Browns, 1pm ET
Joe Mixon gets going in this game and rushes for over 100 yards and 2 TD’s. I predict a close game unlike the last several meetings but the Bengals still get the win.
Result: WIN Record: 8-3
Week 13 – 12/2, vs Denver Broncos, 1pm ET
Denver will have a strong defense this season and it will be interesting to see former Bengals CB Adam Jones line up across from his old team. I think the Bengals offense will struggle this week and lose a low scoring game at home.
Result: Loss Record: 8-4
Week 14 – 12/9, at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05pm ET
The Chargers defense looks strong on paper. Philip Rivers may lead the league in passing yards if he and his receivers stay healthy. The Bengals might struggle on the west coast. I predict they drop this one in LA.
Result: Loss Record: 8-5
Week 15 – 12/16, vs Oakland Raiders, 1pm ET
A lot of former Bengals (Brandon LaFell, A.J. McCarron, Leon Hall, Reggie Nelson, Emmanuel Lamur, Mike Nugent, DC Paul Guenther) come to town but I think the Raiders will be a mess this season. The Bengals blow out the Raiders in The Jungle.
Result: WIN Record: 9-5
Week 16 – 12/23, at Cleveland Browns, 1pm ET
Even though I believe the Browns will be a lot better this year I think the Bengals pull off a sweep in the Battle of Ohio once again and win convincingly as they push towards the postseason.
Result: WIN Record: 10-5
Week 17 – 12/30, at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1pm ET
I think the Bengals will clinch a playoff spot regardless of whether they win this game but I think this could be a game that decides who wins the AFC North. The AFC North still goes through Pittsburgh so I hesitate to pick a very young Bengals team to beat the Steelers until I see more mental toughness.
Result: Loss Record: 10-6
The Bengals make it to the playoffs via a Wild Card berth at 10-6.
There you have it, I predict the Bengals to win 10 games just like I did back in April and the only differences now are that I pick them to win in Carolina and at home again the Saints and to lose at home to the Broncos and in the season finale against the Steelers.