BOLD PREDICTION #1:
Zac Taylor wins coach of the year
This would be the 2nd time in the past decade a Bengals coach has won the prestigious award if this came to fruition, as Marvin Lewis claimed the honor back in 2009.
Given the rock bottom expectations for his team this year, if everything came together and Zac Taylor’s Bengals had a winning season and made the playoffs, he would at the very least been in serious contention.
Why its bold:
Taylor has very minimal play calling experience at the NFL level so it is yet to be seen how he will handle those duties, and how he does in certain situations as a head coach.
Taylor also isn’t playing with the most popular market here. He could be overlooked in way of a more popular or safe choice.
The roster is filled with talented players, all they’ve been missing is the right coaching to get them to the next level, if Zac Taylor’s the guy, the NFL will soon know it.
BOLD PREDICTION #2:
Tyler Eifert leads the league in Touchdowns
During Eifert’s breakout year in 2015 he ended up finishing tied for 2nd in recieving touchdowns with 13. Now, 4 years later Eifert has a chance to prove that he isn’t a one year wonder. And that starts with getting, and staying healthy.
With Eifert seemingly working his a** off to get back to 100 percent for the 100th time in his career, he is poised to get back to his huge red zone threat days.
When healthy, Eifert is one of the best recieving tight ends in the game. He can be used in screens, is a vertical threat, and is always a danger for defenses near the end zone.
When inside the 20, the Bengals offense gets a major boost. Not only does Eifert put points up on the board, he also demands attention down in the red zone which relieves guys like Green, Boyd, and Bernard who are great targets themselves once entering beyond the 20.
Why its Bold:
In Cincinnati’s new offense there will be plenty of mouths to feed, especially near the goaline where Eifert makes his money.
The Bengals have their picking of who they want to go to, Joe Mixon can pound it in, in a goaline situation, if Green is left in a one on one, consider it 6 points. Others targets include Tyler Boyd and John Ross who can sneak through the middle of the field and squeeze past linebackers near the pylon, and if you forget to account for Giovanni Bernard, you better get your field goal block unit out on the field.
It is unlikely for anyone on the Bengals offense to hog all of the touchdowns this season, but if it were to happen, Eifert is in a good situation.
One other obstacle for Eifert is his durability. He has never played a full 16 game season in his NFL career yet, and has only played in 14 games in the past three seasons.
If Eifert is healthy however, he should have a prominent role in the offense, with a chance to score a lot of touchdowns.
BOLD PREDICTION #3
Dre Kirkpatrick gets 5+ interceptions
The Bengals came in 3rd in the entire NFL when it came to dropped interceptions in 2018.
If it weren’t for so many drops, there would have been more highlights, better stats, possibly more touchdowns, and more celebration. All of which adds up to popularity and attention from NFL fans. If Dre holds on to even half of his picks, he is more well known and finishes with multiple INTs. And the good news is, he is still in position to redeem himself.
Dre is an overlooked corner.
His best football came at the end of the year and now he hopes to carry his play into 2019.
Being opposite of a lockdown corner in William Jackson III, Quarterbacks will look to avoid him and rather target Dre Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick showed his coverage skills as he did not allow much coming his way when he was at his best. Not known for taking the ball away, he could surprise a lot of quarterbacks.
Why its Bold:
As good as Dre can be in coverage, he is if not more, as inconsistent. He struggles to put up the same production from week to week and is often called on holding penalties when he is beat in coverage.
He also may see limited throws his way if the Linebackers continue to struggle in coverage and make things easy for the Quarterback on the opposing offense.
Dre Kirkpatrick is capable of having a career year, but he will have to improve on his flaws that teams have exploited and capitalize on his opportunities.