Marvin Lewis wants to get the Bengals back into the playoffs in 2018, but he’ll need quite a few things to go right for his squad to make that happen.
Last year’s 7-9 campaign was a disappointing one for Marvin Lewis and the Cincinnati Bengals. If they want to get back into the playoffs this season, they’re going to need more than their share of good fortune. To put it bluntly, the odds are stacked against the Bengals.
That doesn’t mean they’ll have a predictable season. Cincinnati is blessed with quite a few interesting players on the roster. It’s a solid bet that more than one will break out and have career years. The challenge, of course, is trying to predict which players will boom and which will bust.
In this piece, we’ll make five bold predictions about what will happen for the Bengals in 2018. We start, with good news about one of the team’s underappreciated stars.
5. Dre Kirkpatrick will make his first Pro Bowl
Kirkpatrick has every physical characteristic you want to see in an NFL cornerback. He’s got the size, length and speed to contend with any sort of receiver he goes up against. He’s translated those athletic gifts into six solid seasons as a Bengal. In particular, his last three years as a starter have shown him to be an excellent defensive back.
Somehow, he’s managed to fly underneath the national radar. That anonymity is going to come to an end in 2018. All Kirkpatrick needs is a little good fortune. If he can turn a few of those passes defended into interceptions, he’ll easily make his first Pro Bowl.
He should be able to make that happen this season. The Bengals don’t have a dominating defensive unit, but they can apply pressure to the quarterback. Kirkpatrick has the talent to take advantage of the errant throws that sort of pressure can create.
It won’t be a banner year for the Bengals defense, but Dre Kirkpatrick is finally going to get the recognition he deserves. The question is whether he’ll have any company in Cincinnati.