September 11, 2015 - Jesse Lawrence
Still looking for breakthrough in Playoffs, Bengals begin ’15 in Oakland for week 1 affair
Looking to break through the door of the first round of the NFL postseason, the Cincinnati Bengals begin another campaign that won’t actually be graded until the playoffs. For four straight seasons the Bengals have not gone past the Wild Card round, but the gang’s all back for another run, hoping postseason health and a little bit of luck pushes them to greener pastures. It all begins again with a road date in Oakland in Week 1, when the Bengals battle the Raiders at the O.co Coliseum. At the moment, tickets to see this contest are averaging $193.67 on the secondary market, while the get-in price sits at a reasonable $86 at one of the NFL’s most distinct environments. Out of town fans attending O.co Coliseum can use Hipmunk.com for cheap Oakland hotels starting from $67 for the weekend of the game. Previously, a game against the downtrodden Raiders would signify that an easy win is on the horizon, but that may not be the case in 2015, as Oakland is expected to improve, making them an opponent Cincinnati cannot take lightly. The Bengals will travel to the Bay Area seeking a 1-0 start to their 2015 slate, as they begin their journey towards potentially making the playoffs for the fifth year in a row. One reason they’ve been so successful in recent years has to do with the stability of their offense, which has been led by solid quarterback Andy Dalton since he was first drafted by the club a few years ago. He has some nice toys to play with, such as wide receiver A.J. Green, one of the better players at his position in the game today. The Red Rifle will also have the extremely talented Tyler Eifert to throw to after the promising tight end missed all of last season due to injury. At the same time, it’s the running game that checks in as Cincinnati’s main strength offensively, led by Jeremy Hill, who topped all running backs in rushing yards in the second half last seasons. Additionally, they also have the exciting Giovani Bernard working in the backfield as well, capable of making an impact on any given play. Still having one of the better defenses in the league, the Bengals appear poised to make the postseason once again. The question is, can they finally break through under longtime head coach Marvin Lewis? As good as he’s been throughout the regular season, Cincinnati must now get results in the playoffs, or his job could be in jeopardy. In any event, it’s a team worth watching, and it’ll be an interesting way to kick off the season when they tangle with the up-and-coming Raiders.