The Bengals enter their second season under head coach Zac Taylor, and after a 2-14 season and 6-10 record against the spread in 2019, Cincinnati received the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Joe Burrow was the top selection in the draft, and the LSU quarterback traveled northward to be the franchise quarterback for the Bengals hopefully. He is the favorite to win the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year award (+200).
The last Cincinnati quarterback to win a playoff game was Boomer Esiason when he and the Bengals defeated the Houston Oilers, 41-14, in the Wild Card round in January 1991. At that time, coach Taylor was seven years old.
With the top waiver priority, the Bengals claimed one player, OG Deion “Shaq” Calhoun. The former Miami Dolphin went undrafted in 2019. He started seven of his ten games for Miami last year, but the Bengals decided to put him on the inactive list for Week 1. Unfortunately for the Bengals, OG Xavier Su’a-Filo went down with an ankle injury.
However, the Bengals ran for 122 yards as a team on 28 carries. The culprit for Cincinnati was losing the turnover battle, though. The Bengals gave away the ball twice with an interception and a fumble in the 16-13 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Read Also: Cleveland Browns Predictions and Odds
2020 Bengals Draft Picks
Joe Burrow, QB (LSU)
Tee Higgins, WR (Clemson)
Logan Wilson, LB (Wyoming)
Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB (Appalachian State)
Khalid Kareem (Notre Dame)
Hakeem Adeniji, OG (Kansas)
Markus Bailey, LB (Purdue)
Notable Other New Faces for the Bengals
Samaje Perine, RB
Mike Thomas, WR
Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG
Shaq Calhoun, OG
Christian Covington, DT
Mike Daniels, DT
D.J. Reader, DT
Josh Bynes, LB
Mackensie Alexander, CB
LeShaun Sims, CB
Trae Waynes, CB
Vonn Bell, S
Notable Bengals in New Places
Andy Dalton, QB – Dallas Cowboys
Rodney Anderson, RB – released
Tyler Eifert, TE – Jacksonville Jaguars
Andrew Billings, DT – Cleveland Browns
LaRoy Reynolds, LB – Atlanta Falcons
Nick Vigil, LB – Los Angeles Chargers
Clayton Fejedelem, S – Miami Dolphins
Notable Bengals on the Injury Report
Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG – questionable for Week 2 with an ankle injury
Geno Atkins, DT – out for Week 1 with a shoulder injury; questionable for Week 2
Mike Daniels, DT – questionable for Week 2 with a groin injury
Renell Wren, DT – placed on injured reserve with a pectoral injury
Sam Hubbard, DE – questionable for Week 2 with a knee injury
LeShaun Sims, CB – out for Week 1 for a personal reason; questionable for Week 2
Trae Waynes, CB – placed on injured reserve; expected to return for Week 10
Shawn Williams, S – out for Week 1 with a calf injury; questionable for Week 2
Randy Bullock, K – questionable for Week 2 with a calf injury
Bengals Who Have Opted Out of 2020 NFL Season
Isaiah Prince, OT
Josh Tupou, DT
Bengals Offense Predictions
Rookie Joe Burrow replaces Andy Dalton, who was a large part of the Bengals’ 0-11 record to begin the 2019 NFL season. Dalton started the first eight games before the team’s bye week. Then, Ryan Finley started the final three games of the long losing streak. Dalton came back to the starting role in Week 13 to defeat the New York Jets and went 2-3 in the team’s final five contests of the season.
The Bengals have a drastically different roster heading into 2020, as they get a cavalcade of new players and get back a couple of players who were injured during the 2019 season. Veteran WR A.J. Green, who caught five of his nine targets for 51 yards in Week 1, tore multiple ligaments in his ankle. All-American OT Jonah Williams, whom the Bengals drafted No. 11 overall in the 2019 draft, missed last season due to a torn labrum in his left shoulder. He had surgery last year and started Week 1 of 2020. He played all 68 of the team’s offensive snaps and also played four special teams snaps.
Bengals Running Backs: Can Mixon Bounce Back and Score Double-Digit Touchdowns for the First Time in His Career?
For the last two years, it has been the Joe Mixon show on the ground for the Bengals. They hope that he will bring his rushing average closer to five yards per carry after he saw a dip for the NFL-worst Bengals in 2019. He scored a total of nine touchdowns in 2018 before scoring eight in 2019. In Week 1 of 2020, Mixon did not get into the end zone. He ran for 69 yards on 19 carries and fumbled for the first time since 2017.
Burrow helped the team surpass the 100-rushing yard mark by adding in 46 rushing yards. The Bengals have young legs with both their 23-year-old quarterback and 24-year-old running back.
Cincinnati drafted Mixon with the No. 48 overall selection in the 2017 draft, and he ran for 626 yards and turned 30 receptions into 287 receiving yards in his rookie season. He then ran for career highs in rushing yards (1,168), rushing touchdowns (eight), and first downs (60) in 2018. His sophomore NFL year also included career bests in targets (55), receptions (43), and receiving yards (296). Although Mixon increased his receiving touchdown total to three in 2019, not many other categories increased for him last year. However, Mixon is expected to surpass 1,000 rushing yards for his third consecutive season.
Bengals Wide Receivers: Will A.J. Green or Tyler Boyd Be Joe Burrow’s Favorite Target in 2020?
A.J. Green, who said that his hamstring is 100 percent heading into the season, began the season as the team’s No. 1 wide receiver, but that may change during the course of the year. He received a team-high five targets and led the Bengals with 51 yards as well. Tyler Boyd and John Ross each received five targets, and former Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Mike Thomas came in with three targets.
Boyd was second among the wide receivers with 33 receiving yards, and he figures to be one of Burrow’s top targets this season. We will have to see if Green or Boyd is targeted the most this season. If Green and Ross have difficulty staying on the field again this season, Boyd will have to take over the No. 1 role.
Bengals Tight Ends: Can C.J. Uzomah Be a Reliable Receiver for Burrow This Season?
The team’s leader in yards per reception in Week 1 was none other than tight end C.J. Uzomah. He sits atop the depth chart after free agent Tyler Eifert (43 receptions, 436 receiving yards, and three touchdowns in 2019) signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars for more than $15 million. Uzomah had career highs in targets (64), receptions (43), receiving yards (439), and touchdowns (three) in 2018 before seeing a drop in all categories in 2019. If Eifert’s absence means more targets for Uzomah, Cincinnati could rely on the 27-year-old for several years to come.
Read Also: Pittsburgh Steelers Predictions and Odds
Bengals Defense Predictions
The Bengals looked strong on defense in Week 1, as they held the Chargers to just 16 points. Unfortunately, the strong defensive effort came in a loss. The Bengals did not force any turnovers in the contest, and Los Angeles could use a two-running back effort to accumulate more than 150 yards on the ground.
Early in the season, the defensive leaders are Germaine Pratt (game-high 12 combined tackles) and defensive backs Jessie Bates III and Williams Jackson III. They were both selected in the first two rounds of the draft, and they defended two passes each in the contest. Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate LB Akeem Davis-Gaither (+4000) did not start and had just three tackles in the loss.
Read Also: Baltimore Ravens Predictions and Odds
Bengals Special Teams Predictions
Week 1’s 16-13 loss to the Chargers was not a good game for veteran kicker Randy Bullock. He hobbled off the field with a calf injury after missing the potential game-tying field goal with two seconds remaining in the contest. Bullock had made his previous three kicks in the contest, including a 50-yard field goal and a 43-yard field goal. It will be a quick turnaround for Bullock as the Bengals head to Cleveland to take on the Browns for Thursday Night Football in Week 2.
Since joining the Bengals, Bullock has been a strong kicker for the team, and he impressed with an 87.1 kicking percentage last year. He missed just four field goals in each of the previous two seasons. He also missed only two extra points in 2018 and made 24 of his 25 extra points last season. Bullock has missed just one game since the beginning of the 2017 season. In Bullock’s absence, Marshall Koehn played his first and only career NFL game in the Bengals’ 23-7 loss to the Jaguars in Week 9 of the 2017 season.
Bengals Head Coach Predictions
Zac Taylor is hoping his second season with the Bengals is a lot better than his first one. He experienced success with the Los Angeles Rams as the assistant wide receivers coach and quarterbacks coach. Taylor, who played in college at the University of Nebraska, has professional football playing experience from 2007 when he was an undrafted quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad and the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Taylor owns an NFL coaching record of 2-15 after Week 1’s loss, and he may be on the hot seat by the end of 2020. However, he is not among the most likely to get fired, according to the odds. Cincinnati was loyal to Marvin Lewis even though the former head coach did not win a playoff game during his 16 years with the Bengals. If Taylor is given some years to get a strong Bengals squad together, Cincinnati may be able to win a playoff game during his tenure.
Bengals Predictions for Week 2
The visiting Bengals opened as an 8.5-point underdog for Thursday’s contest. The line has moved more than two points, and the Browns are just a six-point favorite. The two squads split the season series in 2019. The last meeting between the two teams was an impressive Bengals victory in Week 17. Joe Mixon ran for 162 yards on 26 carries for two touchdowns. If he can produce against the Browns again, the Bengals could upset Cleveland.
Bengals Predictions for 2020 Season
With the 2020 over/under for the Bengals being 5.5 wins, they are among the lowest in the NFL. The Ravens, Steelers, and Browns each have an over/under of at least 8.5 wins, so it will be challenging for Cincinnati to rise from the basement of the AFC North. Therefore, the Bengals Super Bowl championship odds are understandable at +20000, and even this low-risk bet does not carry much value.
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