Record vs. Bengals at Lincoln Financial Field: 0-2
Key additions: QB Joe Burrow, CB Mackenzie Alexander, S Vonn Bell, WR Tee Higgins, DT D.J. Reader, G Xavier Su'a-Filo, CB Trae Waynes, LB Logan Wilson
Key departures: QB Andy Dalton, CB Darqueze Dennard, TE Tyler Eifert, CB Dre Kirkpatrick, CB B.W. Webb
Key stat: 141
The Bengals were outscored 420-279 in 2019, marking the biggest negative point differential since the 2008 season when the 4-11-1 team was outscored by 160 points. Cincinnati finished 25th or worse in points scored and gained scored as well as points and yards allowed.
Player to watch: QB Joe Burrow
Head Coach Zac Taylor, Eagles Pass Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Press' brother, gets his franchise quarterback in Burrow, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft who posted one of the greatest seasons by a quarterback in college football history leading LSU to the National Championship and winning the Heisman Trophy along the way.
Shortly after Burrow was selected, the Bengals released longtime starter Andy Dalton, who guided Cincinnati to five consecutive playoff appearances from 2011-15 and set the franchise record for touchdown passes.
This is Burrow's team from the jump. The Ohio native's moxie, pocket presence, pinpoint accuracy, and poise will make his rookie season fun to watch and give Cincinnati a glimpse of a brighter future.
Team preview: 2-14 in 2019, fourth in AFC North
The Zac Taylor era didn't start as anyone would have hoped for as the Bengals lost 11 straight to open the season before wins over the Jets and Browns late in the season allowed Cincinnati to avoid a winless campaign.
The Bengals at least picked a good year to get the No. 1 overall pick coming off Burrow's blistering 2019 campaign. Instantly, the Bengals get a point guard for an offense that has some skill-positional talent with running back Joe Mixon (the AFC's rushing leader in 2018), wide receivers Tyler Boyd (back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons) and John Ross (18.1 yards per catch in 2019) and Higgins, the team's second-round pick.
Cincinnati gets another first-round pick on the field as 2019's top selection, left tackle Jonah Williams, missed all of his rookie season with a shoulder injury. Veteran guard Xavier Su'a-Filo, with 53 career starts under his belt, was signed in free agency to fortify the offensive line.
The Bengals have historically avoided using free agency to bolster the roster, but the cupboard was so barren of talent that they had no choice – especially on the defensive side of the ball. Reportedly, the Bengals dished out a whopping $145 million in free agency. Defensive tackle D.J. Reader teams up with Geno Atkins to give the Bengals a strong duo inside. Veteran corners Trae Waynes and Mackenzie Alexander are expected to start on the outside and in the slot, respectively, while safety Vonn Bell rounds out the overhaul in the secondary.
With a franchise quarterback on a rookie deal, Cincinnati is doing everything possible to become as competitive as quickly as possible to take advantage of the situation. The AFC North now has three exciting young quarterbacks with Burrow, MVP Lamar Jackson, another former No. 1 overall pick in Baker Mayfield.
It's good that the Eagles are getting the Bengals early in the season. However, don't forget Carson Wentz's hot 3-0 start as a rookie in 2016 with two wins over AFC North foes. Add in that the Eagles have not defeated the Bengals since December 24, 2000.