CINCINNATI BENGALS (12-5)
OPEN CAMP: July 28, Paul Brown Stadium.
LAST YEAR: Tied franchise record for wins in season, then extended one of longest streaks of playoff futility in NFL history. Meltdown in closing minutes of 18-16 loss to Pittsburgh at Paul Brown Stadium made it 25 years without playoff win, sixth-longest such streak. They've lost first-round playoff games each of past five seasons, NFL record - nobody else has done it more than three straight seasons. Coach Marvin Lewis returns despite falling to 0-7 in playoffs.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: WR Brandon LaFell, LB Karlos Dansby.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: WRs Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, RT Andre Smith, S Reggie Nelson.
CAMP NEEDS: TE Tyler Eifert had ankle surgery that will limit him for training camp and could affect him for regular season, so Bengals need to choose temporary fill-in from cast of backups with limited NFL experience. Ken Zampese moved into role of offensive coordinator when Hue Jackson became Browns head coach, so offense will get used to new play caller. Defense has to get ready to play without middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict for first three games, his suspension from NFL for numerous illegal hits.
EXPECTATIONS: Bengals in uncharted territory when it comes to reaching playoffs and losing right away. Even though they won 12 games for only third time in franchise history, their playoff meltdown overshadows everything. It'll be same this season, when getting to playoffs won't mean anything unless they finally win. They put most of free agency money into keeping roster close to intact, hoping sixth time is charm.
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