2014 Record: 10-5-1, AFC Wild Card, 3-2 in last five
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1st: 18th in DVOA* overall offense (20th pass, 10th rush) | 14th in DVOA* overall defense (7th pass, 28th run)
2nd: Top-4 most effective defense against all deep receiver types — most effective in the NFL against WR1s (8.7 pass attempts per game, 63.7 yards per game) — but third-least effective against receiving RBs (7.6, 50.4), according to Football Outsiders’ defense vs. receiver types chart.
3rd: Key loss: | Key addition: LB A.J. Hawk
4th: A.J. Green and Marvin Jones were two of four key offensive players to miss a combined 37 games in 2015, forcing players like Mohamed Sanu into a more prominent role. Jeremy Hill benefited from Giovani Bernard being part of that group, but Andy Dalton did not benefit from any of it. He should be better in 2015. The Cincinnati Bengals signed a lot of their own free agents and brought back DE Michael Johnson. If the passing corps can stay healthy and Hawk and Johnson can make an impact on the run defense, the Bengals could end their NFL-worst 24-season playoff win drought.
*Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, a Football Outsiders’ advanced NFL metric, measures a team’s performance on a per-play basis. The metric attempts to limit variance and provides a more realistic measurement of how good a team is regardless of matchup or situation, making it a strong indicator of future success. Read more about DVOA.