Could Cincinnati go from 2-14 to making the playoffs? Eric Eager of Pro Football Focus examines their prospects and finds that it’s not the wildest bet to make. The Bengals are +650 to be in the postseason (via Bet Online).
Cincinnati’s schedule isn’t daunting. Starting off with the retooling Chargers could be more difficult than expected with Tyrod Taylor starting at QB. In week 2, the club takes on the Browns before the Eagles and Jaguars in weeks 3 and 4. Cincinnati going 3-1 or 2-2 isn’t off the table.
Aside from home-and-aways with Baltimore and Pittsburgh, there aren’t many games that look scary. Sure the Cowboys in week 14 will be tough, but the Redskins-Giants-Dolphins stretch leading up to it is appealing.
The linebacker position was one of their biggest weaknesses in 2019 and they addressed it in the draft, selecting Logan Wilson, Akeem Davis-Gaither, and Markus Bailey. The unit, among others on the team, could see some improvement in 2020.
Still, all hope for the Bengals win-loss chances comes down to Joe Burrow. PFF gives Cincy a 22.9% chance of making the postseason and Burrow performing well is baked into that projection. Betting on Burrow to win the rookie of the year is a safer bet, albeit with less upside (+220 on Fan Duel), and might be the more prudent choice for the optimistic Bengals bettor.