It’s turkey week, Cincinnati Bengals fans! Time to stuff our bellies, thank The Man Upstairs and our people in uniform for what they do, and settle in for the second half of the 2018 season.
Because, for the first time in a long time, we won’t just be watching to pass the time until the draft. No sir. With a few more wins, we’ll be back in the playoffs for the first time since 2015. Just about everyone in the 513 area code is thankful for that.
If you root for Cincinnati, here are some other things to be thankful for.
Cincinnati Bengals Fans, Be Thankful That:
5. The offensive line is doing better in 2018. O-line problems are as familiar to Cincinnati Bengals fans as tiger stripes. But with new line coach Frank Pollack and the emergence of guard Trey Hopkins, we’re starting to be cured of the Andrew Whitworth/Kevin Zeitler hangover. The team is tied for 11th in the NFL with 9 rushing touchdowns and are 11th best in sacks given up (21).
4. Our young receivers are getting their chance. With AJ Green out because of a foot injury, it’s a golden opportunity for youngsters Tyler Boyd, John Ross and Josh Malone to get their names mentioned on ESPN. Boyd’s been making the most noise. He has 756 receiving yards through 10 games. He’s also tied for 6th in the league with 14 plays of 20+ yards. If Ross and Malone want to show what they can bring to the table – and get the paychecks to reflect it – now is the time.
3. You don’t root for the Cleveland Browns.
2. The schedule is friendly … ish. This point actually gets us the most excited. Four of the remaining 6 games are against teams with losing records. We could really build some momentum down the stretch. Conversely, the Ravens have to play Kansas City, the LA Chargers and Atlanta – all with a rookie QB in Lamar Jackson. And if not him, then Flacco and his gimpy hip. The Bengals can’t really afford another slip up, but the Ravens have a better chance to slip.
1. We’re doing better than in previous years. Even with Sunday’s loss to Baltimore, the 5-5 Cincinnati Bengals are still in the playoff hunt. The last 2 years saw them at 4-6 (2017), and 3-6-1 (2016) at this point in the season. Yes, their ’18 playoff hopes would look better with two wins against the Ravens, but Sunday’s game is not a deal-killer. Many players on D think brighter days are ahead now that Teryl Austin is out on his duff. If they can sew up some defensive holes, then we’ll get excited about the playoffs. If not … well, there’s always 2019.