Cincinnati Bengals have been the laughing stock of the league for what seems like forever. Last year a ton of injuries on offense held back what many predicted would be a solid team. The good news for the Bengals is there defense was much improved and with the youth on defense they should only get better. Offensively there are a ton of questions with at least 5 new starters and several very young players at key positions. Today Handicapper Craig Trapp is going to give a preview and prediction for the Bengals 2009 season.
Carson Palmer's questionable elbow is a very large concern in Cincinnati but Coach Lewis has been optimistic that he will be healthy this season. The bigger concern has to be the turnover on the offensive line with at least three new starters. Also the departure of TJ Houschmanzada via free agency leaves some big shoes to fill. The good news with a younger bigger offensive line we should see a better running game with Cedric Benson. Also with more time Carson Palmer should be able to show off his super accurate arm. The offense no longer will have to score 30 points to win a game instead a 21 point output should put them in the win column most games.
What once was the achilles heal has now turned into a very big positive. With the addition of Ray Malaluga, Tank Johnson, and Roy Williams you will see this team have much better leadership and athleticism. Last year this team finished in the top 15 in almost every defensive category and for sure we should see this team in the top 10 this year. The one area that still is a question is pressure off the ends in passing downs. But with a much quicker LB and secondary we still will see teams not be able to pass verse the Bengals. An improved defense could be the spark this team needs to get back into the playoffs!
Special teams will be better for the Bengals as they have added a new punter, who was a stud in College, Kevin Huber should make there return defense even better. Shayne Graham continues to be one of the most consistent kickers in the league and can't imagine that would change in 2009. This special teams should be in the top half of every category in 2009.
If what the experts say is true that Defenses win games then we should see the 2009 Cincinnati Bengals at least in the above 500 category. But if the offensive line comes together like Coach Lewis predicts we could see this team with a minimum of 10 wins. A very dangerous team in a very good division watch out for this sleeper.
Making money on the Bengals will be easy, take the over 7 wins in future books. Great value, and when Palmer is healthy they have never had less than 7 wins!