2013 Record: 11-5
Notable Losses:James Harrison, Andrew Hawkins, Chris Cook, Michael Johnson, Anthony Collins
Notable Gains: Danieal Manning, Marshall Newhouse, Jason Campbell
Draft Class: Darqueze Dennard, Jeremy Hill, Will Clarke, Russell Bodine, A.J. McCarron, Marquis Flowers, James Wright, Lavelle Westbrooks
The Facts: The Bengals are a very talented team. They had the fifth best defense in the NFL, a statistic that I don't expect to change drastically as they'll be featuring Vontaze Burfict and Geno Atkins, among others. They have a talented running back stable with Gio Bernard, Cedric Peerman ,Jeremy Hill, James Wilder Jr. and BenJarvus Green-Ellis — so much so that Green-Ellis may be out of a roster spot.
They have an offensive line that was very good at keeping Andy Dalton upright and a very talented receiving corps featuring A.J. Green, one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.
They also have Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Dane Sanzenbacher, Cobi Hamilton and James Wright, who aren't bad supplementary options, and a decent tight end tandem in Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham.
But for all that talent that had the Bengals upstaging high-end opponents like the Packers, Patriots, Ravens, Colts and Steelers, and that won them the AFC North, they have their issues. Namely Dalton did not perform well against divisional opponents, as he threw for 1,361 yards, 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in divisional play. That's 226 yards, one touchdown and one Interception per game. If his divisional opponents were able to do better offensively those wins would've been losses.
Also as I said earlier the Bengals won a down AFC North. The Ravens, Steelers and Browns combined to go 18-30. The Bengals shouldn't have such an easy time winning a division now that both (or at least one) of those opponents improved this offseason.
Part of the reason I have the Bengals down here is just the fact that going 8-0 at home is an incredible feat and that it's unlikely to be replicated, another part is due to the fact that they now have to play a first place schedule.
Mix that all together and the Bengals should experience a regression,however they are still talented enough to win in the playoffs if Andy Dalton ever gets his act together.
If you disagree with my assessment and ranking remember: Unless it's something crazy,your guess is as good as mine.