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Can Bengals overcome terrible post-bye trend vs. Raiders?

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The Cincinnati Bengals are one of the NFL’s worst teams after the bye week — but they hope this year bucks the trend.

Cincinnati has lost five consecutive post-bye games in a row. Since 2012, the team is 2-7 after the bye. Even worse, they’re usually — and predictably — some of the worst losses of the season (2020, 36-10. 2019, 49-13. 2018, 51-14. Etc.).

The Bengals hope this weekend’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders is different. Head coach Zac Taylor recently addressed whether he thinks a bye-week hangover is a real thing:

“I will let you know after the game. Each team is different. Each time the bye comes your team is usually in a different place. I thought we had a good start to the week today. Our guys came back and were mentally ready, and so we just have to use this week to our advantage. The Raiders are coming off a Sunday night game and a divisional game and we got a chance to rest a little bit so our guys are going to come back after tomorrow’s day (off) and be focused on Wednesday. I expect our team to handle it. To answer your question every team is different and we’ve just got to handle our business this week.”

But there’s no one identifying trait that can be singled out as the root of the problem. Even worse, this week’s post-bye game is on the West Coast and a late kickoff, which takes the team out of its comfort zone.

If nothing else, a post-bye win this week would suggest the guys in the locker room and the culture itself was the problem, or part of the new solution (the last two years were roster turnover years, after all).

And frankly, that sort of outcome might be more important than moving this season’s record to 6-4.

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