As has been the case for years, the Bengals are tough up front and have a solid group of cornerbacks. DT Geno Atkins continues to anchor the Cincy defense and remains an elite performer as he enters his 30s. His longtime running buddy on the line, DE Carlos Dunlap, has had at least 7.5 sacks in each of the last five seasons. The CB trio of William Jackson, Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard is a good one. Cincinnati ranked ninth against the pass last year and gave up just 6.5 yards per attempt.
LB Vontaze Burfict will serve a four-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. Burfict has also dealt with myriad injuries over his career. The Bengals were one of only three teams to give up more than 2,000 rushing yards last season. Cincinnati forced just 14 turnovers last season, with only the Browns getting fewer.
This might not be the vaunted Bengals defense of the recent past, but it’s still a pretty good group. The Bengals would have ranked better than 23rd in defensive fantasy scoring if they had done better with takeaways, and turnover luck tends to even out in the long run.