The Cincinnati Bengals are in great shape to make a run at the Super Bowl this season.
The Bengals haven’t won a championship in their franchise history, and they haven’t made it to the big game since 1988. But the odds are in their favor as they seek to change that this year. With an 8-4 record, they are on top of the competitive AFC North, ahead of the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
If the Bengals can keep up their high standard of play, they will have a real chance of winning their first championship.
Odds To Win Championship: 16/1
Key #1: Andy Dalton firing on all cylinders
Any NFL team that wants to win the Super Bowl needs a top quality quarterback calling the shots at the line of scrimmage. There are only so many of those to go around, but the Bengals can say that they have one in the form of Andy Dalton, who has been one of the biggest reasons why the Bengals lead their division.
At the tender age of 26, Dalton is in just his third season in the NFL, and his third at the helm of the Bengals offense. He burst onto the NFL scene with a rookie year that earned him an invitation to the Pro Bowl in 2011.
He hasn’t slowed down since then, putting together impressive offensive numbers both last season and so far this season.
He’s been at the top of his game in 2013, and if he keeps up his torrid pace he will set career highs in touchdowns and yards, while no doubt leading the Bengals to even more success.
If the team is to make it out of a very competitive AFC and reach the Super Bowl, they will need Dalton to be as good, if not better, as he has been.
Key #2: Shut the door
The Bengals boast arguably the best defense in football, with a roster full of players adept at stopping the opposing offence in their tracks.
The Bengals have no shortage of players they can turn to when they need to haul down an opposing ball carrier. Linebacker Vontaze Burfict has been racking up the tackles and assists all season and leads the team in both categories.
Ray Maualuga and George Iloka are two more defensive highlights for the Bengals. With an embarrassment of riches on the defensive line, the Bengals are tough to score against.
Key #3:Great coaching
The Bengals benefit from the leadership they receive from a terrific coaching staff.
As head coach, Marvin Lewis clearly has the respect of his players and has instituted systems that are leading them to victory.
In Mike Zimmer, they have one of the best defensive coordinators around, and one who seems destined to lead his own team one day.
The Bengals are in great shape for a championship run.
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