It's finally here! See who the Eagles will be matching up against each week throughout the 2016 season...
Since drafting Andy Dalton in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals have been in some respects a model of consistency that would make other franchises jealous.
They have won 10 or more games in four consecutive seasons, which is tied for the second longest streak in the NFL. Cincinnati made the playoffs in 2015 for the fifth straight year. Only three other teams can say that.
The problem is those three other teams have captured a Super Bowl title during that run. The Bengals have not won a single playoff game.
Marvin Lewis is the winningest head coach in Bengals franchise history as he enters his 14th season with the team, but boasts an 0-7 record in the postseason.
2015 offered Cincinnati's best chance to break through and make a deep playoff run. The defense ranked No. 2 in points allowed. Dalton was having a career year. He completed over 66 percent of his attempts, had the highest yards per attempt average of his career (8.4), threw 25 touchdowns against only seven interceptions.
Then, Dalton fractured the thumb on his throwing hand in a Week 14 game against the Steelers making a tackle on an interception return. Untested second-year quarterback A.J. McCarron took over the reins. In the Wild Card playoff game versus those same Steelers, McCarron rallied Cincinnati from a 15-0 deficit in the fourth quarter to give the Bengals the lead. The defense, that had been stout all season, committed consecutive 15-yard penalties in a bizarre series of plays on the final drive putting Pittsburgh in position for the game-winning field goal.
Dalton is back, but without two of his top receivers from last year as Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu left in free agency. Cincinnati also lost offensive coordinator Hue Jackson to the division-rival Cleveland Browns. However, Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green, who has posted at least 1,000 yards receiving and six touchdowns in each of his five NFL seasons, is still around. On defense, the Bengals watched the 2015 league leader in interceptions, safety Reggie Nelson, sign with the Oakland Raiders. Yet, the Eagles' offensive line will have its hands full with defensive end Carlos Dunlap and tackle Geno Atkins, who combined for 24.5 sacks last season.
The Bengals have quietly been one of the most consistent winning programs in the NFL, but the cloud of playoff doom will hang over their heads all season as it has been 25 years since the franchise's last postseason victory. This matchup to start the month of December will pit one of these teams closer to being a part of the final 12 once the regular season is over.
|Key Additions||Key Losses|
|LB Karlos Dansby||DE Wallace Gilberry|
|CB William Jackson III||CB Leon Hall|
|WR Brandon LaFell||Offensive Coordinator Hue Jackson|
|S Taylor Mays||WR Marvin Jones|
|LB Emmanuel Lamur|
|S Reggie Nelson|
|WR Mohamed Sanu|
|T Andre Smith|
|DT Devon Still|