“We can’t go down 0-3,” Bengal quarterback Joe Burrow said of the team’s record.
Translation: Sunday’s game is a must-win for Cincinnati.
You can essentially write off the season if the Bengals lose. Only six teams have ever made it to the playoffs after starting the season 0-3. The 2018 Houston Texans are the only team to have overcome such a deficit in the 21st century.
But Bengals fans need not worry about that. Neither Burrow nor anyone else in the locker room panics, a result of the winning culture the Bengals have built. The positive outlook of the team should not be underestimated.
Cincinnati’s offensive problems are probably too big to solve all in one game, but it should be heading in the right direction. The Bengals just need something to build confidence and restore the offensive identity they had in 2021. This game couldn’t have come at a better time.
New York’s defense is not good. The Jets have lost 54 points, the third most in the AFC. They only have two takeaways. The Jets only grabbed three bags. That should be good news for a Bengals offense that is up to speed to allow a dazzling 110½ sacks this season.
Look for the Bengals showing the first signs of the explosiveness they had on offense last season. Expect a more balanced attack, with backing Joe Mixon having a big day.
Forecast: Bengal win, 28-14.
Last week’s forecast: Called the loss of Bengal. I said that Dallas Cowboys superstar Micah Parsons would have his way and the Bengals’ attack would have a hard time.
Season record: 1-1
Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Indiana predictions
How Much Respect Does Indiana Get Nationally? No. Despite the 3-0 start, the Hoosiers got no votes in this week’s TNZT Top 25 poll. They also earned nothing. Their wins were all at home and against Illinois, Idaho and Western Kentucky. And Indiana struggled to win every game.
Anyway, for the first time since 2019, a so-called Power Five team is coming to Nippert Stadium. This Bearcats team is looking for its own identity. The Bearcats feel they missed an opportunity in the season-opening defeat in Arkansas. Saturday is UC’s chance to show that a special season is in the works.
The Bearcats need to hold the ball better. UC has lost four fumbles this season. The Bearcats rumbled against Miami University five times last week, but recovered three. It’s uncharacteristic of Luke Fickell’s team after the Bearcats lost just 10 fumbles last season.
Fickell is a big game coach. You know he insisted that it’s important to hold the ball all week in practice.
Soon is sold out. UC has not lost at home since 2017, Fickell’s first season. There is no way the Bearcats will let Indiana break the series.
Forecast: Bearcats win, 31-24.
Last week: I predicted a 21 point win for the Bearcats against the RedHawks, and UC won by exactly that margin (38-17). I just missed the final score (prediction: 35-14).
Season record: 2-0 (The Predictions column didn’t start until after the Bearcats game in Arkansas.)
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Bengals vs Jets Predictions and UC Bearcats Football