The Cincinnati Bengals lost their second- and third-best wide receivers, Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, in free agency this offseason and didn’t really replace them. So that was to put a ton of pressure on No. 1 receiver A.J. Green and star tight end Tyler Eifert. However, now come news that Eifert likely won’t be ready for the start of the season and that should make you re-evaluate Cincinnati’s NFL betting lines.
Jones quietly caught a career-high 65 passes for 816 yards to go with four touchdowns in the 2015 season. Sanu had also been a solid player for the Bengals, averaging 45 catches for 546 yards and 2.3 touchdowns per season from 2013-15 while playing in every game. So they will be missed. There’s only so much Green can do as teams are likely to double him all the time. Green caught 86 passes for 1,297 yards (15.1 yards per catch) and 10 touchdowns in 2015, marking the fifth straight season in which Green topped the 1,000-yard mark.
— NFL (@NFL) May 24, 2016
How Will Eifert’s Injury Affect the Bengals NFL Odds?
But Eifert helps open the middle of the field and is a huge red-zone target. And if you want another reason why the NFL should do away with the Pro Bowl, it’s him. That’s because Eifert injured his ankle in the game and now will have surgery on it. Nobody thought much about it at the time, because the season was over and it didn’t seem serious.
In the nearly four months since, the ankle has not responded as quickly as all of the parties would have liked, and he will undergo surgery. Guy is a great player but has been very injury-prone. And this surgery could mean he misses the first couple of games of the regular season. That’s a big blow to the Bengals, and it may be a big blow to the Pro Bowl. Players are already increasingly declining invitations to play in the game.
Eifert played in 13 games last season – his first as the primary target out of the tight end position – and responded with a career year. He finished with 52 catches for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns, emerging as one of the league’s best at his position. Eifert’s 13 receiving touchdowns were the best among all tight ends and tied for second most in the league. Andy Dalton looked better in 2015 than he had throughout his career, and Eifert was a big factor
Someone Save A.J. Green
So if you are an opposing defense right now, you blanket Green and make any other Bengals pass-catcher beat you. Second-year Tyler Kroft likely will take most of Eifert’s playing time. By the end of last season, Kroft emerged as a legitimate backup to Eifert. Although he appeared in all 17 games (including the Bengals’ playoff game against Pittsburgh), it wasn’t until Week 12 that Kroft started popping up as an offensive playmaker on the stats sheet. Overall, Kroft had 11 catches for 129 yards and a touchdown last season.
And the Bengals have a really tough early schedule: Four road games, a night game and meetings with three 2015 AFC playoff teams. Cincinnati is a 1.5-point favorite on NFL lines for Week 1 at the Jets.