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Bengals Further Entrench Themselves In AFC North Basement

After disappointing themselves and their fans in 2010 and finishing a game behind the Cleveland Browns in the basement of the AFC North, the Cincinnati Bengals did absolutely nothing to improve upon that in 2011. In fact, their recent moves have only served to further entrench the team there for at least one more season, if not more.

The retirement of QB Carson Palmer came as a surprise after he demanded to be traded or released, and there wasn't much the team could do about that. Therefore, they drafted TCU QB Andy Dalton in April's NFL Draft. They also drafted one of the better receivers in college football last year in Georgia's A.J. Green.

However, they never expected to trade flamboyant WR Chad Ochocinco, much less to the New England Patriots. The combination of losing Palmer and Ochocinco, as well as not having Terrell Owens returning, almost completely decimates a major portion of their offense over the past few years.

Meanwhile, the Cleveland Browns are trying to improve their team and stay out of the AFC North basement, which they should be able to do, although there is not much more than that to expect in 2011 from them. Unfortunately for them, they are in the same division as two perennial playoff and Super Bowl contenders in the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, both of whom are poised for another run at the Big Game.

Until the Bengals get a few years of experience under their QB's belt and keep the team together to gain chemistry and consistency, they are doomed to remain the doormat of the division, with only Cleveland to consider a true test of their rivalry to prove mediocrity as their immediate future's goal.