If you were to take a pulse of media outlets, both national and local, it’s likely you’d find the majority siding with the Buffalo Bills for a win at home in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs over the Cincinnati Bengals. The home team is favored by around five points, depending on the betting outlet, largely based on injuries on the away team’s side, as well as weather and the talent on both rosters.
But, these “Us against the World” Bengals who were created last year are eager to face one of the toughest matchups they’ve had in those past two seasons. Head coach Zac Taylor showcased that exuberance on a recent episode of the BLEAV in Bengals podcast, hosted by former Cincinnati defensive backs, Solomon Wilcots and Adam “Pacman” Jones.
On the episode, Taylor spoke on the opportunity in front of the team in potentially beating one of the league’s en-vogue preseason super bowl picks. And, he did so in his usual sly-confidence-but-classy-aw-shucks demeanor.
“This is how it was meant to be for us,” Taylor said to Wilcots and Jones. “We’re going to be on the road in these tough environments—that’s what this team is built for. Really, at this point, wouldn’t want it any other way.”
If that sounds pretty confident by the head man, it’s because it is, and it comes from a legitimate place. Cincinnati weathered 14 sacks given up, tough climates and venues in two postseason games last year (Titans and Chiefs) and charged their way through them to Super Bowl LVI. That’s truly a “been there, done that” notch in the belt by the Bengals.
“Let’s earn everything we get. Let’s go into one of the most hostile environments in all of football…,” Taylor continued. “At this point, we’re looking forward to it, and we know it’s not going to be easy, we know it’s going to be loud, it could be windy, but we’re going to embrace that stuff and do our best to put on a show.”
Since the start of 2021, these now-AFC powerhouse Bengals have been doubted. They supposedly weren’t good enough to win the AFC North just yet in 2021, were going to be a first-round playoff oust (again) and definitely could hang with the big boys in the Chiefs and Titans.
After starting 0-2 this year, they were “frauds” who were experiencing a Super Bowl slump. They weren’t going to win the North again, nor were they going to take care of business against the Ravens, and now are definitely a second-round exit. Sound about right?
Taylor and his Bengals have utilized a glut of bulletin board material—particularly this season—to fuel their postseason runs. They’re battle-tested and seeming about as ready (offensive line health notwithstanding) as possible for this big task in Western New York this Sunday afternoon.
Recently, BLEAV hasn’t made many friends in Who Dey Nation because of some postseason proclamations about the club, but Cam Rogers and the network have been good friends to us here at Cincy Jungle for a while. Aside from Wilcots’ and Jones’ show, BLEAV also has “The No. 1 Bengals Podcast” featuring Bridget Jancarz, as well as our own Dadio Makdook, Dr. Hodgie Smodgie, and John Sheeran, who also co-hosts our Orange and Black Insider show here.
The BLEAV network has a blend of journalists, top sports personalities, and former athletes headlining their programs. Additionally, they have connected us with great podcast and interview guests here at CJ and OBI such as Wilcots, Joe Valerio, Ike Taylor, and Mark Bergin, as well as Daniel Wilcox and many others over the past couple of years. We’re grateful for the synergy we’ve created with them.
You can subscribe to the BLEAV in Bengals show with Adam Jones and Solomon Wilcots and “The Bengals No. 1 Podcast” on your favorite audio streamer, or on YouTube.