Are the undefeated Bengals a true Super Bowl threat?

The Cincinnati Bengals are among three undefeated teams in the NFL these days.

But Marvin Lewis’ squad hasn’t just won every game, they’ve been flat-out dominant in them. The Bengals have scored 80 points and allowed just 33, giving them a league-best +47 point differential. To put that in perspective: the second-best point differential, held by the Atlanta Falcons, is +31.

This isn’t a fluke, either.

The Bengals have 30 regular season wins combined in the past three seasons. However, in that time frame the Bengals have zero playoff wins, which leads us into this team’s flaws and why I’m not ready to say Cincinnati has a real shot at hoisting the Lombardi trophy in 2015.

Andy Dalton simply isn’t a very good quarterback and that has continuously bit the Bengals during big games. Yes, he has a 95.4 passer rating and has thrown just one interception this season. But the eye test doesn’t lie. This is a player whose stats are inflated because of outstanding skill players and an offensive line that has protected him to near-perfection this season.

While the line and skill players will still be there come postseason time, there will be a time in a close playoffs game that the Bengals need Dalton to win the game for them by making tough throws against an elite defense. We simply don’t have many reasons to believe he’s capable of actually doing that.

With an elite defense and guys such as Giovani Bernard and A.J. Green surrounding Dalton on the offensive end, I think it’s fair to predict Dalton and Co. finally win a playoff game this year. But it’s extremely difficult to envision a scenario in which Dalton outduels, say, Peyton Manning in the AFC Championship Game and then is able to have success against the Seattle Seahawks’ incredible defense in the Super Bowl.

The Bengals are better, but I’m not ready to declare them Super Bowl contenders.

Author: Sam Richmond

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