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Peter King has high expectations for the

    • 386 posts
    October 29, 2018 6:55 PM PDT

    The national media has not been kind to the Bengals this offseason; predicting Cincinnati finishes even worse than last year’s 7-9 showing. Some are even predicting the Cleveland Browns to finish ahead of the Bengals. With the clear improvements the Bengals have made this offseason it is ludicrous to think that they would do worse than last season without a major injury.Peter King of NBC Sports sees things a bit differently than most for the Bengals and discusses his view on the Bengals as a part of his 2018 NFL season predictions. Defensive Player of the YearAaron Donald may be the biggest name among interior defensive linemen in the NFL Youth Tyler Boyd Jersey , but King predicts that Geno Atkins will be the league’s Defensive Player of the Year. King points to Atkins’ supporting cast on the defensive line (specifically mentioning Carlos Dunalp and Andrew Billings, but oddly enough not Carl Lawson) as a reason why he will have a better season than other contenders like Donald and now Bears defender Khalil Mack. If Atkins is able to achieve this feat it will certainly mean good things for the Bengals defense and team overall.Division ChampsKing predicts that the Bengals will ride Atkins’ stellar season and their strong defense to an AFC North championship. With the Pittsburgh Steelers looking for answers in the secondary, the door is open for the Bengals or Baltimore Ravens to make a run. The Bengals excellent pass rush and shutdown No. 1 cornerback William Jackson will certainly go a long way. King predicts the Bengals win the division and earn the fourth playoff seed in the AFC, finishing just ahead of the Steelers who earn the top wild card spot.Coach of the Year ContenderKing predicts that Doug Pederson will win coach of the year, but lists Marvin Lewis as one of the top contenders. If the Bengals are able to get back into the playoffs after a two year drought, Lewis could warrant attention for the award. As King mentions, the defense looks to be impressive and if the Bengals can run the ball behind this offensive line, the offense could be lights out as well. The Bengals are not a team without flaws, but with all of the offseason improvements they have made and the talent that they have built up over the last several years, there is reason for optimism in Cincinnati. The Bengals look to be strong defensively and have an excellent passing game on offense. If they can run the ball effectively and matchup with backs in pass coverage, the sky is the limit for this team.Bengals rookie DE Sam Hubbard credits veterans for starting rally against the Dolphins The Bengals are no strangers to come from behind victories, as three of their four wins this season have come late game heroics.In their Week 5 game against the Dolphins, the Bengals were down 17-0 with a little more than a quarter and a half remaining in the game. Normally in this situation, the offense has to step up and win the game. However, the Bengals’ defense—more specifically the defensive line—put points on the board.When Michael Johnson announced the Bengals’ third round draft pick this year, which ended up being Sam Hubbard Andy Dalton Jersey , we never knew that both defensive ends would score two touchdowns that helped the Bengals go on a 27-0 run to seal an important game with playoff ramifications. Hubbard’s first career touchdown could not have come at a better time. The Bengals were holding onto a three point lead late in the game and needed a stop. Carlos Dunlap responded by knocking the ball out of quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s hand. Hubbard collected it and took it 19 yards to the house.“I was going for the ball,” said Dunlap. “I don’t want him to be able to throw it. He was trying to make a big play for his team. I made it that far and I wanted to finish the play off.”Dunlap’s efforts in clutch situations are nothing new, and Hubbard experienced another instance of it firsthand.“It’s really a credit to Carlos Dunlap,” Hubbard said. “He was chasing the quarterback down and hit the ball right into my lap. All I had to do was run straight.”Between Hubbard’s touchdown, Johnson’s touchdown, and two sacks from Geno Atkins, the defensive line was the most valuable position group on the team. The defensive line outscored both teams offenses, scoring 14 points to the to the Bengals’ offense’s 13 and the Dolphins’ offense’s 10. “It really started with Geno (Atkins) setting the tone, getting after them early,” said Hubbard. “And Coach (Jacob) Burney telling us to relax and have some fun and do what we do, and that is what we did in the second half.”The Bengals have shown that they have no quit in them. Every week, a new hero emerges to win the game. Whether its Clayton Fejedelem, Shawn Williams, A.J. Green, Johnson, or Hubbard Authentic A.J. Green Jersey , the Bengals’ “never say die attitude” manifests itself.“I think it’s contagious,” Hubbard continued. “We have a lot of veteran guys, a lot of guys that have played a lot of football here, and all they want to do is win. They are leading the way, and the young guys are feeding off of them. Everybody is staying up, and playing for each other.”While Hubbard stepped up and put the game out of the Dolphins’ grasp, Marvin Lewis was still a mixed bag of emotions.“From the Mark Waltons to the Sam Hubbards to Jessie (Bates),” said Lewis. “Look at the plays these guys made down the stretch today, and they’re rookies. We’ve got to feel really good about that. But at the same time, we’ve got some (mistakes) and some other things by rookies, too. We’ve got to eliminate those.”Even with those mistakes, the rookies—and especially Hubbard—showed why the Bengals picked them in the draft. If this is their starting point, their primes are going to be amazing.