NFL predictions 2020: Bengals final record projection, Super Bowl odds & more to know

Cincinnati has a franchise plan in place, and that has generated some excitement in the Queen City heading into 2020. 

The Bengals bottomed out last year with a 2-14 record under first-year coach Zac Taylor, but that long season is in the rear-view mirror. 

That excitement stems from the arrival of No. 1 pick Joe Burrow, the close-to-home-hero who won the Heisman Trophy and led LSU to the national championship last season. The Bengals have a franchise quarterback who should be able to compete with the other dynamic QBs in the AFC North. 

Cincinnati held on to star receiver A.J. Green, and Burrow has a nice set of skill position players around him. 

The Bengals also was more active in free agency, and that gives hope that owner Mike Brown is more serious about building a contender. 

How will that translate into more wins? Sporting News takes a closer look: 

MORE NFL PREDICTIONS:
SN's complete 2020 standings projections & playoff picks

Bengals record prediction for 2020

    Record: 6-10Division: No. 4 in AFC North Playoffs: None

    Iyer's take: There's worthy excitement and optimism offensively around Joe Burrow, especially with an improved line and A.J. Green and Tee Higgins boosting the passing game. Defensively, the investment in the rebuild will help complete the four-game improvement.

    Bender's take: Six wins sounds about right. The Be

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    ngals have an underrated core of skill-position talent with Joe Mixon, A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd, and if Auden Tate and Tee Higgins can be consistent contributors then Burrow will be in business. The offensive line remains a question mark, however, and that is the biggest key in a young quarterback's development. If the defense comes through, then Cincinnati could take those incremental steps in the right direction to be an AFC North contender again.

    Bengals 2020 win total, Super Bowl odds

      Win total: Over/under 5 1/2Super Bowl odds: +15000 (third worst)

      (Odds courtesy Sports Insider)

      SN's prediction of six wins puts the Bengals right on the line of Vegas' projected win total, and that's going to be a close one. 

      In order to get there, Cincinnati will have to snag a game or two in the division. The Bengals are 2-10 in AFC North play the last two seasons, which is tied with the Lions and Redskins for the worst record in division play in that stretch. 

      Cincinnati hasn't reached the postseason since 2015 and hasn't won a playoff game since 1990, so there still is a long way to go with this rebuild. 

      MORE: Week 1 NFL picks against the spread | Week 1 odds from Sports Insider

      Bengals schedule 2020

      The Bengals have a last-place schedule that features the AFC South and NFC East. 

      Cincinnati faces four teams with a record of .500 or better on the road in 2020, so that schedule is a little-bit easier. Burrow might face two fellow first-round rookie quarterbacks in San Diego's Justin Herbert (Week 1) and Miami's Tua Tagovailoa (Week 13). 

      The matchup against the Dolphins starts a brutal September in which the Bengals get Dallas and Pittsburgh at home before a road trip to Houston and one more home game against Baltimore. 

      For Cincinnati's it about improving at home. Cincinnati is 10-14 at home the last three seasons — the sixth-worst mark in the NFL in that stretch.  

      WeekDateOpponentKickoff timeTV1Sept. 13vs. Chargers4:05 p.m.CBS2Sept. 17at Browns8:20 p.m.Fox/NFLN3Sept. 27at Eagles1 p.m.CBS4Oct. 4vs. Jaguars1 p.m.CBS5Oct. 11at Ravens1 p.m.CBS6Oct. 18at Colts1 p.m.Fox7Oct. 25vs. Browns1 p.m.CBS8Nov. 1vs. Titans1 p.m.CBS9BYE --10Nov. 15at Steelers1 p.m.Fox11Nov. 22at Redskins1 p.m.CBS12Nov. 29vs. Giants1 p.m.Fox13Dec. 6at Dolphins1 p.m.CBS14Dec. 13vs. Cowboys1 p.m.Fox15Dec. 21vs. Steelers8:15 p.m.ESPN16Dec. 27at Texans1 p.m.CBS17Jan. 3vs. Ravens1 p.m.CBS