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Posts tagged with "Marvin Lewis"

Cincinnati looks to break into the win column in the unfriendly confines of Lambeau Field.

A.J. Green
 Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images

Traveling to Lambeau Field for a game against the Green Bay Packers is never an easy proposition. But the task becomes even more daunting when you are a Cincinnati Bengalsteam that has dropped its first two games of the season on its own turf.

Cincinnati will try to find the formula for success that has eluded so many others when traveling to Green Bay on Sunday, September 24, 2017 for a 4:25 p.m. showdown.

Green Bay comes into the contest fresh off a 34-23 road dismantling by the Atlanta Falconsthat saw its record drop to 1-1. It also put an end to the initial optimism generated by its 17-9 win over Seattle in the Packers’ home opener.

Cincinnati, with a record of 0-2, tries to join a list of 27 other teams since 1990 who began the season at 0-2 and went on to make the playoffs. The 2003 Philadelphia Eagles are the only team in NFL history to do so after losing its first two games at home.

Sunday will mark the 13th meeting between the two teams, with the Bengals claiming victories the last three times the teams have met. All three games have been close, with the Bengals winning in Cincinnati by a 34-30 score in 2013, the last time these two teams played. The Bengals prevailed in Green Bay by a 31-24 margin in 2009 and won in Cincinnati in 2005, 21-14.

Probably the most memorable of those affairs was the 2013 contest, a game that saw the Bengals offense overcome a sloppy performance that included four turnovers and the failure to record a first down from the three-minute mark of the first quarter until early in the fourth.

Cincinnati’s defense, meanwhile, led by Vontaze Burfict, held Green Bay to 100 yards of total offense in the first half, including one of seven on third down. The Packers still managed to lead by a 30-14 margin midway through the third quarter before interceptions by Terence Newmanand Leon Hall and an A.J. Green touchdown reception helped close the gap to 30-27.

The Packers, attempting to run out the clock, faced a 3rd-and-12 from the Bengals 41-yard-line with just over four minutes remaining. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers hit Randall Cobb for what appeared to be a first down, but a Marvin Lewis challenge left Green Bay facing fourth-and-one with four minutes left.

Green Bay went for it, and running back Johnathan Franklin fumbled short of the sticks. Cincinnati’s Reggie Nelson recovered and lost the ball six yards into his return. The Bengals’ Terence Newman scooped up the loose ball up in stride and returned it 58 yards for the deciding touchdown.

Struggle has been the word of the day for the Bengals’ offense in 2017. Against the Baltimore Ravens on opening day, Cincinnati turned the ball over five times, including four interceptions, and quarterback Andy Dalton was sacked five times. Dalton had a little more success against Houston and committed no turnovers. But he was still sacked three times in the first half, and the result was another loss.

The Bengals now have a new offensive coordinator in Bill Lazor and hope to be able to get A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert more involved. Those two, along with the addition of John Ross and more consistency in a running game led by Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard, hope to get Cincinnati into the win column for the first time.

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Will the Bengals return to winning football in 2017? Which game on the schedule could prove to be the make-or-break matchup? Sports Illustrated serves up its projections in response to those two questions.

The Cincinnati Bengals’ 6-9-1 record from 2016 offered a reality check for a team that had made the playoffs for five straight seasons. After notching the No. 9 overall selection in the NFL Draft and attempting to improve this offseason, it remains to be seen whether the Bengals have done enough to get back into playoff contention in 2017.

Sports Illustrated’s Jonathan Jones predicted each NFL team’s 2017 win-loss record and gave the Bengals a winning record and shot at the playoffs. Before we get to what he said about the Bengals, here’s a look at how he went about making his predictions.

In my first year of picking all 256 games for SI.com, I learned just how difficult it is to predict the future, and I reserve the right to be wrong. I made these picks with a few universal truths in mind before dissecting the schedule: I believe the Patriots, Steelers and Packers are among the best teams in the NFL, and that they will profit from weaker divisions from top to bottom. They are the only teams I could give at least 12 wins.

Here’s what Jones had to say specifically about the Bengals in 2017 and how the season could play out:

Projected record: 9–7

Here’s another AFC North team with a coach who could be on the hot seat. Marvin Lewis is the second-longest tenured coach in the NFL today, but he won’t be able to afford missing the playoffs in consecutive years on top of five years of wild-card futility. The Bengals caught some tough breaks last season by losing seven of nine by a possession. Starting the season against Baltimore, Houston, Green Bay, Cleveland and Buffalo could give the Bengals a 4–1 start going into their bye.

Pivotal game: Week 17 at Ravens. This game could decide who gets a wild card and who stays home. Both the Bengals and Ravens will have to deal with a competitive AFC West, so nine wins may not cut it for a wild-card berth.

The Steelers are projected at 12-4, the Ravens 9-7 and the Browns 2-14. And as for the other team Jones refers to as having a coach on the hot seat in the AFC North, that’s Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.

Regarding his Bengals projection, I think expecting Cincinnati to win three more games than they did in 2016 is fair. The team lost seven games by one possession and an eighth game ended in a tie. With a new kicker, added speed and athleticism and a healthy roster, the Bengals could certainly win three more games this season and return to playoff contention. If the Bengals fail to make the playoffs for the second year in a row, maybe Lewis’ reign in Cincinnati will truly be over.

If the Bengals get off to a strong start and go 4-1 ahead of the bye, which I do believe the team is capable of doing, we could be in for an exciting season of Bengals football.

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Though the Bengals have had their share of high-profile games in recent seasons, they still don’t have nearly as many primetime and big stage games as other NFL teams who win as frequently.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to the Cincinnati Bengals playing in primetime, the amount of games the club has played on the stage under Marvin Lewis is exponentially higher than during “The Lost Decade” of the 1990s. Sure, the addition of Thursday Night Football provides the team an additional opportunity every year, but the Bengals have had a couple of annual primetime opportunities with increased recent success.

Even so, with some data compiled by medium.com user Qwakeword, Cincinnati still seems to get draw the short end of the stick with opportunities to play in the highest-profile games of the season. The basis of the findings come from compiled information from 2012-2016 and is based on national television appearances as compared to a team’s winning percentage during that time.

Here are some of the guidelines used when examining the correlation and/or disparity between NFL teams and their appearances in primetime and other big games:

Most analyses of NFL scheduling use the prime-time game as their unit of measure. We think this is a flawed metric in this era of cord-cutting and the poorly-regarded Thursday Night Football. In this article, we’ll instead look at the number of national broadcast appearances each team has made between the 2012 and 2016 seasons. We’ll compare this to how well the teams perform on the field (using regular season records) to get a measure of how much exposure each team gets relative to the quality of its play. Monday Night Football games are cable-exclusive, so they aren’t counted.

Game included in the analysis:

  • Sunday Night Football on NBC
  • National Sunday afternoon games
  • Thursday and Saturday games that are broadcast on CBS, NBC or FOX

Notes:

  • Monday Night Football games are on ESPN, which is cable-exclusive, so they weren’t counted.
  • Thursday Night Football games that are only on NFL Network were not counted. For the last two years, the Bengals’ TNF game has been exclusively on NFL Network.

One of the references used in showing the disparity between winning percentages and the amount of national appearances is in the Baltimore Ravens. They were televised 11 times in the games that fit their criteria from 2012-2016, but they figure that their regular-season winning percentage of .513 warrants about 2.4 more appearances on those types of games.

In the five years in which the data was collected, the Bengals compiled a .627 regular-season record, but only had six national broadcasts (Thursday Night Football games on NFL Network were not included). The Bengals are grouped in a category called “the cheated”, along with the Panthers, Falcons and Cardinals. Cincinnati had the highest winning percentage in that time of any of those teams. yet, the Bengals were the most cheated team with a -15.1 “total minus expected” score. Per the formula used, the Bengals should have played 21.1 games from 2012-2016 in primetime and on the big stage, if the games were decided by winning percentages. There’s even a point in the study where it says, “with the exception of Cincinnati, CBS mostly grants coverage to teams in accordance to how well they play.”

The study surmises there is a specific perception with these clubs and their lack of appearances in big-stage games. One reason they point to is a lack of individual star power on these respective squads.

But, when you look at the rosters of those teams in that span, the argument doesn’t really hold weight. Whether it’s in Atlanta’s exciting offense with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, Arizona’s with Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson, the Cam Newton-led Carolina squad, or the myriad of Pro Bowlers Cincinnati employs on both sides of the ball, these teams all have exciting players.

However, there are two specific stigmas these teams share: a lack of Super Bowl wins and the teams coming from mid-market cities. These two aspects bring teams to the forefront of the casual NFL fan’s mind, hence why teams like the Patriots (30), Giants (29), Steelers (27) and Eagles (22) are at the top of the list, in terms of their amount of appearances on the national stage.

What also might be playing against the Bengals’ favor in gaining more appearances, particularly in recent years, is their poor performances on primetime. Cincinnati routinely lays eggs when the nation is watching, whether it was in their 2014 loss to the Browns on Thursday Night Football, 2015’s yawn-fest against the Texans, or the Christmas Eve debacle on Christmas Eve once again against Houston.

Even after a six-win season in 2016, we should still expect the team to have a couple of primetime games once again this year. With a top-10 pick that could yield a household name from the college ranks, perhaps it could propel the Bengals into more high-profile games in the future.

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1

Thud. Smack. Bang.

Use any loud noise you want to describe a window being slammed shut, and that’s what they’re hearing in Cincinnati.

The Bengals‘ window, the one with Marvin Lewis leading the team to five straight postseason appearances, is about to be slammed shut. Cincinnati, which entered the season as one of the favorites in the AFC North and a legitimate Super Bowlcontender, fell to 3-7-1 on Sunday by losing 19-14 to the Baltimore Ravens.

That means the season is over and the Lewis era could be as well.

If it is, it has been a nice run for a team that was a laughingstock for a long time before Lewis got to Cincinnati in 2003, but a non-playoff season, even with all the injuries, will make it tough to bring Lewis back. He is under contract through the 2017 season after getting a one-year extension this spring, which could mean he’s back for another season, but that might be pushing it.

There were many calling for his head after the Bengals lost in the playoffs to the Steelers last January in a game that featured an utter meltdown by the Bengals to blow it, complete with a lack of discipline. But that was absurd then when Lewis just went to the playoffs five straight times and played that game without injured quarterback Andy Dalton.

Even so, it likely made it so he had to get back to the playoffs this year and maybe even win a game to assure himself another season.

That isn’t happening now.

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