2014 NFL Power Rankings Countdown
12. Cincinnati Bengals (AFC North)
2013 Record: 11-5
Head coach: Marvin Lewis – Over his eleven seasons coaching the team Marvin Lewis has transformed the Bengals from being one of the league’s worst franchises into a perennial playoff team. However, Lewis will be tested this season though, as he replaces both of last seasons coordinators, and he tries to determine if his quarterback Andy Dalton is the man to lead the Bengals to the Super Bowl.
Best offensive player: A.J. Green, wide receiver – Green has one of the top size / speed combinations of any wide receiver in the NFL. He can do it all, take a wide receiver screen pass for a touchdown, go over the middle for the tough catch in traffic, and he can also burn you deep. NFL Power Rankings
Best defensive player: Geno Atkins, defensive tackle – Atkins is recovering from a devastating knee injury from last season, but when he’s healthy he’s an absolute force in the middle for the Bengals. He’s quick off the ball and can penetrate into the backfield, and he’s also a very good pass rusher for a defensive tackle.
Rising Star: Vontaze Burfict, outside linebacker – Burfict’s draft stock took a hit coming out of college as many believed his attitude was detrimental to him becoming a good player. However, Burfict has proven people wrong by leading the Bengals in tackles the past two seasons, and becoming one of the top young linebackers in the league.
Best new addition: Darqueze Dennard, cornerback – The Bengals were in need of some youth at cornerback, and they got one in the draft who could have gone a lot higher than he did in Dennard. He might develop into the Bengals top cover corner sooner rather than later. NFL Power Rankings
Biggest offseason loss: Michael Johnson, defensive end – Johnson had a down year as far as sacks were concerned last season with only 4. However, he has still proven himself to be a good pass rusher in the past, and guys who can produce double-digit sacks aren’t easily replaced.
Biggest strength: The Bengals biggest strength is their front seven. With Geno Atkins at defensive tackle and Vontaze Burfict leading the charge at linebacker, the Bengals defense can not only put pressure on quarterbacks but also stop the run. This in turn makes the secondary better as well. NFL Power Rankings
Biggest weakness: The Bengals biggest weakness is depth at wide receiver. If starters A.J. Green or Marvin Jones goes down to injury with an extended period of time, the Bengals may be in trouble at receiver.