Marvin Lewis: An Unknown Genius

Week 6 gave us a close game between two very good football teams, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The game ended rather unfortunately with the Bengals bringing the house, which lead to an Antonio Brown touchdown with 10 seconds left on the clock. The following week gave us the typical bloodbath we’re used seeing the Bengals play in primetime games when they took a 45-10 loss at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs. The average Joe may have looked at this and thought Marvin Lewis is the worst coach in the league and the Bengals are taking a turn for the worse, but actually, the contrary is true. After the Bengals were able to pull out a win against Ryan Fitzpatrick and a very competitive Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Marvin was able to prove what the Bengals can accomplish. Marvin Lewis is one of the top coaches in the league and this year is the year. Despite all the downfalls they’ve had this year, the Bengals will be the Super Bowl LIII champions.  

Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Photo by Jeffrey Beall

Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Photo by Jeffrey Beall

Marvin, the second longest tenured coach in the NFL behind only fellow coaching legend Bill Belichick, has led the Bengals to seven playoff appearances in his first fifteen seasons as the Bengals head coach. While the Bengals have struggled in the playoffs (0-7 during Marvin’s tenure), this is the year where everything will change. This is the most complete Bengals team Marvin has ever had and they will almost certainly clinch the AFC North making this year the Bengals eighth playoff appearance during Marvin’s tenure and the sixth appearance in the last eight years. 

While Marvin is currently 0-7 in the playoffs, expect that record to be 4-7 come Monday February 4. Yes, I’m predicting the Bengals to be playing in the first round as the divisional champs. The Bengals can realistically win every game and finish 13-3, but we all know that we don’t live in an ideal world and that the NFL is filled with close games and upsets, even when some of the best play some of the worst. Because of this, I predict the Bengals to finish with a still solid 11-5 record that will lead to them winning the AFC North and capturing the 3 seed in the AFC. 

So where will the Bengals go once they make the playoffs? 

Getting in as a 3rd seed will lead to a first round home game. At this point, it is difficult to predict who will be the 6th but expect it to be a team from a group that includes the Ravens, Dolphins, Titans, Texans, and Chargers. In a home game, the Bengals can easily handle any of these teams leading them to a second round road game. The 2nd seed team that the Bengals would be travelling to will likely be the Kansas City Chiefs. The Bengals played the Chiefs in Kansas City in the Sunday night game week 7, a game that was a bloodbath for the usually solid Bengals. However, one needs to remember that the regular season and the playoffs are two completely different animals. Andy Reid, much like Marvin Lewis, is notorious for choking in playoff games. The only difference is this year, the Bengals are built not to choke while the Chiefs still need to get over this hump.  

This leads the Bengals to the AFC Championship, a game that will likely be against the New England Patriots, the only team in the league with a coach of comparable brilliance to Marvin Lewis. The Patriots are a good matchup for the Bengals because Tom Brady lives off of throwing short passes, and the Bengals have the toughest linebacker corps in the league lead by Vontaze Burfict and Nick Vigil. Barring any stupid penalties and poor officiating, expect the Bengals coming out of this one with a win in a likely low scoring affair. 

This leads to Super Bowl LIII. It appears that the AFC is much stronger than the NFC this season so it appears any matchup for the Bengals will be favorable. Because of this, the Bengals should have no trouble winning the Super Bowl if they’ve already beaten the Chiefs and the Patriots in the playoffs. This year will be historical for the Bengals as they win the first Super Bowl and cement Marvin Lewis as a Cincinnati legend.

Stone Dixon