14. Cincinnati Bengals
2016 record: 6-9-1 (Third in AFC North)
AFC North future rank: second

Why they're here: The Bengals are laced with talent at the skill positions on offense -- A.J. Green was on pace for a 1,700-yard season before going down in Week 11 -- and still feature a defense that's consistently competitive. But the long-term future of the offensive line is a major question mark after a poor 2016 season got worse when two key contributors (tackle Andrew Whitworth and guard Kevin Zeitler) bolted in free agency. The pipeline doesn't appear to be stocked with future stars up front, either. -- Field Yates

Biggest worry: Is Marvin Lewis' leadership enough to get this team to register its first playoff win since he took over in 2003? He is currently 0-7 in the postseason, despite registering double-digit wins six times in 14 years and coaching a roster often among the league's best from 1 to 53. Yes, Lewis has often been saddled with coaching players who aren't the most dependable/professional, but he's going to have to win a playoff game soon to keep his job. -- Louis Riddick

What could change for the better: Cincy lags in front-office outlook with a No. 20 ranking, somewhat understandable now that owner Mike Brown is 81 years old. However, Brown has taken steps over the past few seasons to prepare the team for a power transfer. Katie Blackburn and Duke Tobin have assumed larger roles in the organization, with seemingly positive results. It's plausible to think this front office could be set up well for years to come. -- Mike Sando






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