In part 1 we gave our prediction for the season (we have no f ing clue), so now it's time to check out what the rest of the world thinks.
This turned out to be harder than I thought. Searching many of the local blogs and media outlets, I had a tough time finding many predictions. I found plenty of general comments but not a lot of concrete predictions. So, we will treat this post as an work-in-progress. As I find new previews I will add them to the post. Help from readers would be appreciated.
Let's start with everyone's favorite:
Again though, this prediction assumes that what is possible is probable. Is it possible the Bengals go 10-6? Sure. Is it probable? No. If you go through this season 10 times, I bet the Bengals reach 10 or more wins at most in 4 of them.
Bill Simmons: Bill notes this NFL year is particularly unpredictable, and then goes on to predict anyway. He has us at 7-9, wants to throw hydrogen-peroxide into his eyes to unsee Andre Smith running a 40 with his shirt off, and blatantly tries to reverse jinx his own Pats by having them lose to Pitt in the AFC championship.
Everyone else can be lumped into one convenient link. I'll just list the guys you've probably heard of and ignore the rest for now. It's hard to take lots of these guys seriously though when they say things like this will be the last year of the "lackluster Marvin Lewis era" when Lewis has done more with the Bengals than any coach ever. But we get a feel for what national media (read, people who probably don't know much) think about us.
Every single writer picks us to finish 3rd in the division (I can't argue with that) except for one which has us 2nd - bless you, Seth Wickersham of ESPN the Magazine.
John Clayton: "As long as Carson Palmer is healthy -- which could be a big "if" -- the Bengals should win seven or eight games."
Jeffri Chadiha: "Their success depends greatly on Carson Palmer's ability to stay healthy and Chad Ochocinco's desire to make up for a horrendous 2008 season. Without that, this team is heading for another disastrous year."
Len Pasquarelli: "The chic pick of a lot of media folks, and getting Carson Palmer back at quarterback will help, even if the receivers aren't as good as a year ago. Problem is, the Bengals have been unable to stop people with their defense." (not sure Len even watched our team last year with those comments...)
James Walker: "The Bengals will surprise as long as Carson Palmer stays healthy and upright. But until they prove they're tougher and more physical than Baltimore and Pittsburgh, they'll have a hard time in the AFC North." (whatever)
TMQ: weighs in with a Haiku declaring the Bengals should become a soccer team and will go 4-12.
The "experts" don't like us so far...hmmm...
Peter King: Has us picked to go 7-9 and finish 3rd. As a former beat writer for the Enquirer, he at least has some familiarity with our organization.
Don Banks: "The presence of HBO's "Hard Knocks" cameras didn't exactly portend great success for the Cowboys and Chiefs the past two years, but there is a growing belief the Bengals will be better than most people expect this year. Carson Palmer is the obvious key to Cincinnati's season, but I still can't get over the fact that his brother, Jordan, started that Web site (RunPee.com) that instructs you on the best times during a movie in which to head for the bathroom. Who has that kind of time on their hands?"
(he has us at 21 in his preseason power rankings...and that paragraph included exactly no helpful information about how the Bengals might actually do this season...I award you no points Don Banks, and may God have mercy on your soul)
Pete Prisco: Definitely drinking the kool-aid. No win-loss prediction but Pete has the Bengals in the playoffs defeating the Steelers in the wild-card round. Bless you, too, Pete Prisco.
Chick Ludwig: So I cannot find the Ludwig-At-Large piece written months ago entitled something like "How the Bengals Get to 10 Wins", but from that title it should pretty obvious Chick thinks the Bengals will go 10-6. I also found his preview from last year where he predicts, shockingly, 10 wins. Hmmm...I remember Chick turning negative fast on the Bengals last year before the season, perhaps he revised this June prediction later in the off season. Regardless, for some reason Chick likes to predict REALLY early. Discount his opinion for official predictions then since he predicts with a lot less information than everyone else.
Mo Egger: can't find Mo's anywhere. Perhaps he just said it on the radio. But I did see this comment:
"Two of ESPN's NFL "experts" have the Bengals getting into the playoffs as wild cards. Forget the over/under. The number that matters is 10. I always assume ten wins are needed to get into the playoffs. Assume that they won't win the division. Since NFL realignment in 2002, only two of 14 wild card teams in the AFC have gotten into the playoffs with nine wins. (The number is much higher in the NFC, but let's face it, the NFC sucks) Last year's wild cards needed 11 and 12 wins respectively. So let's focus on ten. Can you find ten wins on that schedule? And if this team does not make the playoffs, which in other cities is the standard of success for an NFL season, is there any way that this season can be considered a success."
Seems like Mo's prediction amounts to "less than 10 wins".
Lance McAlister: same with Lance. Here's a quote I could find:
"You tell me how fans will feel if the Bengals sit 0-1 around 4:30 Sunday afternoon? Lose Sunday and stare down the barrell of 0-3. The season would be done by September 27."
A recurring theme is the must-win nature of the Denver game.
Joe Reedy: not sure Joe plays this game
Doc: He plays this game. He likes the Bengals for 8-8, again notes the must win nature of our opener and believes Baltimore is the class of the AFC North, not Pitt.
Cincy Jungle: didn't see a firm prediction from any of their writers but their tone appears to be slightly optimistic
Strype Hype: same for Strype Hype
In fact, same for all the Cincy football blogs. Help! This preview aggregator project is looking more and more like a failure. I need people to play in the sandbox with me dammit.
Others of Note
Football Outsiders: their simulations in the nerdery predict precisely 6.9 wins. Before they caught some mistakes in their figures they got to 9 wins though. What mistakes I ask? Not sure based on our interview with them.
Real GM Football: I don't know who these guys are but they seem to go into a lot of depth. Their prediction is 7-9 with a chance at 9 or 10 wins and a real possibility of 4 or 5 wins. Hmmm, did I write that preview and just black out?
My best guess is that all predictions aggregate somewhere to a 3rd place finish with about 8 wins. Not shocking.
One last thing: I am also noticing the trend that people generally like and relate well to the players on our team. Coaches too. I concur. Maybe it's just Hard Knocks manipulating me but I definitely find myself actually concerned about things like Chris Pressley and his family. Hopefully this translates into good karma and maybe an extra win or two. WDR Policy: root your ass off for the players and coaches but don't support the front office with your money.
Add your own previews or link to others in the comments...