2011 Record: 9-7
PPG For: 21.5 (18th)
PPG Against: 20.2 (9th)
2012 Cap Number: $80,641,237
Draft Position: #17 Pick and #21 pick
Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way – Mike Brown has done an excellent job with this team. That’s right, I said it. Mike Brown, the guy who has unquestionably been the worst GM in the NFL since taking over two decades ago, has amassed what is arguably the best young foundation in the game. How else would you describe a young team that somehow made the playoffs in Year 1 of rebuilding?! That’s pretty darn impressive! While the 9 wins are a bit deceiving (no wins over fellow playoff teams), it must be pointed out that Cincinnati is rising at exactly the right time. With Peyton Manning’s health problems, the Steelers rapid aging and deterioration, and Tom Brady’s advancing age; the AFC hasn’t been this wide open in years. With a fistful of cap space, two first round picks, and a bunch of developing studs, the Bengals could easily make the leap from surprising, but somewhat fraudulent playoff team to true contender.