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Broo View: Bengals look like a shadow of past playoff teams

Broo View: Bengals look like a shadow of past playoff teams
Posted at 7:50 PM, Oct 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-31 19:51:15-04

Here's the question Bengals fans: are they just an above average team with a great receiver and nothing more?

After watching the Bengals play to a result that is all too common in London (ties, soccer, etc.) it occurred to me that maybe a few things have caught up with a team that looked long on promise before September.

You know, things like Mohammad Sanu, Marvin Jones, Reggie Nelson and the entire coaching staff on the defensive side of the ball (except for the coordinator). They all have one thing in common: they're gone. The Bengals are on their third offensive coordinator in the last four years. 

And so far this season, the Bengals have looked like a shadow of the team that went to the playoffs the past five seasons. 

They don't make any plays. They don't create fumbles and recover them. They don't intercept the ball all that much.  And on offense, while the Bengals have 36 plays of 20 or more yards this season, second most in the NFL, they have struggled to score points

A.J Green, of course is the "great player." He's accounted for almost 38 percent of the Bengals' receiving yards this season (896 yards after eight games).  He continues to be almost uncoverable. The Redskins spent $75 million last off season on cornerback Josh Norman, for the sole purpose of having a shut down corner. Sunday, Green schooled Norman. And while Green wasn't always Norman's assignment, "the 75 million dollar man" was flagged for a pass interference AND four other "illegal use of hands" penalties. 

But after Green, where are the great players? Geno Atkins has 16 tackles. His impact has been minimal. Carlos Dunlap will have to kick it up more than a notch in the final eight games if he wants to break the single season sack record. He has just five heading into the break. Karlos Dansby makes a lot of tackles. But there's a difference between making a lot of tackles and "making plays."  So far this season, the Bengals defense has forced a grand total of seven fumbles. They've recovered three. They've managed just seven interceptions in eight games.   Neither of those stats shorten the length of the field for the offense, nor alter the course of the game.

And then, there's Mike Nugent. He missed two field goals Sunday in London. He's now missed three of his last five.  Worse, he missed an extra point against the Redskins. If he made it, there would've been no overtime. The Bengals would've won the game in regulations

Now 3-4-1, the Bengals get a week off. The silver lining to the tie is that if a division title or a wild card berth come down to teams with nine wins, the Bengals win the tie-breaker. The question, of course, is can the Bengals get to nine wins? They'll have to go 6-2 to reach the nine-win plateau. To believe the Bengals can win six of their final eight games, at this point, is a leap of faith.

Random thoughts as the Bengals reach their bye week....

Would not be shocked if the AFC West produces three playoff teams. The Raiders are now 6-2, after pulling out an overtime win at Tampa. They're 5-0 on the road. And this is despite committing 23 penalties against the Buccaneers...

And Denver is 6-2 as well. Which means next Sunday night in Oakland when the Raiders and Broncos meet, first place is on the line.  ....

The Chiefs, who've already had their bye, are now 5-2 after Sunday's win over the Colts. That's despite Alex Smith, who's lucky to have a head after what happened to him Sunday...

Major concern for the 3-4-1 Bengals? Five non division leading AFC teams have mid point records of 4-4 or better right now....including the surprising 4-4 Titans....

The legend of Dak Prescott grew a little bigger with the Cowboys Sunday night win over the Eagles...

Belated but Happy Birthday wishes to the great Denny Laine. For years, Laine was the lead guitarist in Paul McCartney's "Wings." But he was also a founding member of the group The Moody Blues, finding this song for the group to record....

Laine left the group soon after and The Moody Blues became a more melodic group.  But this very talented man turned 72 years old this past Saturday.

Hunch: Cubs win game #6 Tuesday. But the Indians win it all in seven.