Bengals’ Dax Hill learning hard lessons as Bengals dropped four spots to secure…

Dax Hill, the Cincinnati Bengals’ 2022 first-round pick, has faced challenges in living up to high expectations throughout the season. Primarily functioning as a nickel cornerback in his rookie year, Hill has transitioned to a starting safety role this season, accumulating a team-leading 984 snaps. Despite his exceptional athleticism and speed (4.3), the learning curve has been evident, including adapting to varying field conditions such as the rain-slicked grass in a recent game against Pittsburgh.

The Bengals recently dropped to the 10th position in the AFC standings, with estimating their playoff odds at 23%. However, the New York Times’ playoff predictor is more optimistic, giving the Bengals a 93% chance of making the playoffs if they win their remaining two games. The team has faced ups and downs, exemplified by a challenging loss to the Steelers.

Coach Taylor expressed pride in the team’s resilience after a tough loss to Pittsburgh earlier in the season, highlighting a subsequent three-game winning streak that put the Bengals back in playoff contention. With the season at 8-7, the Bengals face crucial matchups against the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cleveland Browns. While the team has performed well outside the AFC North (8-2), a win in the division remains elusive at 0-5, impacting their playoff chances significantly.

Despite setbacks, the Bengals are not ruled out of playoff contention, and their performance in the remaining games will be pivotal. A scoreboard watch in Week 17 is essential, and the team needs favorable outcomes in other games with AFC playoff implications.

The Bengals, known for their distinctive jersey combinations, have chosen a risky combo for the Week 17 game against the Chiefs, a combination in which they have recently suffered four consecutive losses, including last year’s AFC title game against the same opponents.

The resilience shown by the Bengals, especially after losing Joe Burrow to a season-ending injury, demonstrates the team’s determination beyond relying solely on the franchise quarterback. The potential peace of mind gained from their existing strengths could be more valuable than the advantages of drafting higher, signaling a need for fresh thinking and adaptability for both the Bengals and their college counterpart, the Buckeyes.

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