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Cincinnati Bengals 2012 NFL Season Preview, Predictions

  • By NFL.com
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Cincinnati Bengals

www.bengals.com
2011 record: 9-7 (Third in AFC North)

Fearless Forecast

  • Bucky Brooks

    The Andy Dalton-to-A.J. Green connection is one of the NFL’s most lethal combinations. That alone could carry the Bengals deep into the playoffs.
    Prediction: 10-6, second in AFC North

  • Daniel Jeremiah

    The Bengals have quietly built an excellent football team. Andy Dalton and A.J. Green had great rookie seasons and both should be even better in 2012. The defense is loaded with athletes and should produce a lot of sacks and turnovers.
    Prediction: 11-5, first in AFC North

  • Adam Schein

    I like this mix. I like Andy Dalton and A.J. Green in Year 2. It was huge that Marvin Lewis retained both coordinators in Mike Zimmer and Jay Gruden. And look at the schedule. Cincy could easily start 4-2, at the very least.
    Prediction: 9-7, second in AFC North

  • Steve Wyche

    Andy Dalton and A.J. Green could be magic and the Bengals won't take a huge step backwards; they just won't have enough to make it to the playoffs again.
    Prediction: 9-7, third in AFC North

In The Spotlight
Leon Hall | #29 | CB

If you look at the NFL’s best defenses last year, you see this commonality -- the secondary has a star in it. And in a Bengals secondary that has six former first-round picks at corner, Hall has been that star. He’s coming back off a torn Achilles, and that’s a tricky one and has put him on a "pitch count" during camp. But he remains a vital part of the defense, and his return is important here.

Tickets
3 Pivotal Games
Week 1 at Ravens
The front end of the "Monday Night Football" doubleheader could be a huge launching point for a very talented Bengals team -- a win here and going into a home game against Pittsburgh in Week 7 at 6-0 is not out of the question. And then, there are obvious divisional implications.
Week 16 at Steelers
Sometimes, it’s best not to overcomplicate. The Steelers have won four straight against the Bengals, and have only lost once to them in Pittsburgh over the last five years. There’s a definite big brother/little brother dynamic here. And if both teams live up to expectations, this one will be big.
Week 17 vs. Ravens
Again, this is obvious. But it’s not difficult to see how much this game might mean. The Bengals came into camp with high hopes and even had t-shirts that said DNO (Destination: New Orleans) printed up. This game, at the end of the year, against a perennial playoff team, qualifies as put-up-or-shut-up time.

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