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Friday, June 30, 2006

2006 Divisional Predictions Part 3

AFC North

1. Cincinnati Bengals

The injury to Carson Palmer destroyed the Bengals dreams last year, but he has been intent on returning for opening day 2006. That is a major feat in itself, but will he be the same Carson Palmer that has led the Bengals out of the perennial NFL basement? Time will tell.

The off season saw some decent depth at QB (Jon Kitna) move on to other opportunities. It also saw LB, Nate Webster (Den) and TE Matt Schobel (Phi) move on, but that was it. The remainder of the team from last year was left intact. The defensive additions include DT, Sam Adams (Buf) and S, Dexter Jackson (TB), on the offense they added some depth with WR, Antonio Chatman (GB) and QB, Anthony Wright (Bal), not a huge off season by any means out side of keeping their own players.

Cincinnati drafted CB, Johnathan Joseph, OT, Andrew Witworth with their first two pics followed up by a couple of DL, a LB and then some potential offensive depth with a QB and 2 WR. The only foreseeable impact player in 2006 seems to be Joseph, who has received high praise from the mini camps thus far.

The Bengals season hinges directly on the knee of Carson Palmer. If he is at worst the same as last year then they win the division, but if he is not himself from last season then it will be a struggle. WR’s, Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh represent one of the best receiving tandem’s in the league and RB, Rudi Johnson continues to tote the load. They have decent depth at the skill positions outside of QB so as Palmer goes the Bengals will follow. Being optimistic and thinking that based on his work ethic to return from knee injury we are opting for Cincinnati to win the AFC North.



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