Losing sucks. Unfortunately for Bengals fans Womens Dre Kirkpatrick Jersey , its become commonplace over the last year.Dating back to last year, the Bengals have lost 12 of their last 13 games, which includes an 0-5 start this season following a 1-7 finish in 2018. Needless to say, Bengals fans havent had much to be optimistic about, and thats evident in the latest FanPulse poll: The current state of the franchise has been eerily reminiscent of the 90s and early 2000s Bengals. However, theres a big difference, as this team actually has star talent on both sides of the ball. The problem is Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green has yet to play this season but did practice this week, so he should return in the coming weeks. That will be a much-needed shot in the arm for this struggling offense, which could lead to a better showing in the second half of this season. After all, its fair to think the Bengals would have several wins already if Green was playing, seeing as how they lose to the Seahawks, Cardinals and Bills by a combined eight points. With Green in the lineup, the Bengals should win several games in the second half of the season.Be sure to sign up for FanPulse to have your voice heard.Bengals mailbag: Vontaze Burficts return, Week 5 predictions and Cincinnatis long-term viability Not many folks would have thought that a Week 5 matchup between the Dolphins and the Bengals would have major divisional and early playoff implications. However, with both teams sitting at 3-1, thats the case as the 2018 calendar flips to October. There is a lot of news and emotion surrounding Cincinnati and the Who Dey faithful, ranging from injuries to a last-second win over the Falcons last Sunday. Even so, Cincy Jungle readers and listeners of our podcast have a lot of concerns this week. Be sure to send your questions to us via Twitter @CincyJungle or @CJAnthonyCUI, or by joining the live cast of The Orange and Black Insider!*****Whether its been on Twitter Darqueze Dennard Jersey , the Cincy Jungle comment threads and/or listeners from The Orange and Black Insider, the topic du jour is Vontaze Burficts return to the Bengals lineup.Most Bengals fans want to believe that hell be a catalyst to propel them through the meat of their schedule. The next six games for Cincinnati go like this: the 3-1 Dolphins, the struggling, but always-tough Steelers, the currently undefeated Chiefs, followed by the high-flying Buccaneers and Saints, and then the Ravens. With a Bengals defense allowing 28 points per game this season, Burficts return and the Week 9 bye provide nice respites. Burfict will assist defensive coordinator Teryl Austins unit, to be sure. Aside from the deplorable points-per-game number, Cincinnatis defense is 28th in overall defense, 28th against the pass and 22nd versus the run. The enigmatic Burfict is the only linebacker on the roster who resembles a three-down player in the group. Being so, he should help in all phases. But, still, is he a cure-all to the problems? Hardly. Part of the problem with Austins defense at the moment is that they have lost the identity they had built in the first two weeks. Sure, they let up points and yards like Chuck Bresnahans 2005 group, but they also nabbed turnovers with frequency. That has hit the skids in Weeks 4 and 5, resulting in a 1-1 record. And, without a near-miracle by the Bengals offense in Atlanta, this team could have a very different feel with a 2-2 record and the blame being squarely on Austins shoulders. Perhaps the most damning statistic comes with their trio of former first round corners. William Jackson Randy Bullock Jersey White , Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard have combined for zero interceptions through the first month of the season. However, whether its in tangible statistics or just a general air of increased energy, Burfict will surely make a difference. For all of the chatter of his on-field transgressions, No. 55 has an incredibly high football I.Q. Its why hes able to mask some overall limitations with his speed with proper angles and early dissections of plays. With Burficts return, there are a few wild cards. On the unfortunate side, over-sensitive officiating has been a theme of September and that could affect Burfict in a number of ways. Burfict hasnt hit anyone from another team since Christmas Eve of last year. Hell be chomping at the bit when he returns, and hell have to rein it in a bit. This is especially true when hes blitzing and hitting a quarterback. Body weight rule, anyone?Second, even when Burfict is healthy, weve seen him leave games oftenusually temporarily. Whether its cramps, being winded or injuring himself with his Tasmanian Devil-style of play, No. 55 always skates on thin ice. Regardless, Burfict should help in a big way. If his presence can lift the defense to a middle-of-the-pack ranking in major areas, that will pave a path to the playoffs. That is especially true now that more valuable players are injured on offense. *****Aside from Burfict being a topic of discussion this week, wondering on the viability of the 2018 Bengals has been another. By this, we mean two last-minute miracle wins and the defense being a bend-and-still-bend unit. Weve already talked about how Burfict should impact the defense and the team in a positive way. However, what if he doesnt, or his impact is minimal? Can the Bengals continue on a path to the playoffs with a 28-point allowance and a 31 points-per-game on offense?I mean, obviously Womens Preston Brown Jersey , the law of averages tells us yes. However, averages dont necessarily account for huge pendulum swingsparticularly those within the division. As mentioned above, Cincinnati faces some very potent offenses over the next month and a half. Things could be relatively fine if the pass rush gains a little consistency and certain defensive backs actually corral interception opportunities (cough, Dre Kirkpatrick, cough). However, ifs and buts...What if things remain relatively status quo on defense the rest of the season? Are you confident in this team to still get double-digit wins and ease into the January bracket?While most of the blame on the teams issues (funny to say with a 3-1 start) is on the defense, the offensive line isnt immune to criticism, either. After starting the season well, Cordy Glenn has not been himself the past two weeks, while the right side of the line has struggled and first round center Billy Price wont be back until midseason after never missing a start in college. (Side note: Is it me, or do the Bengals seem to suffer more injuries than most other teams? Questionable medical staff aside, Cincinnati has/will have seen missed time from Michael Johnson, Joe Mixon, Giovani Bernard, Tyler Boyd, John Ross, Billy Price, A.J. Green, Preston Brown Womens Trey Hopkins Jersey , Vontaze Burfict and others through just four games this year.)Look, Andy Dalton is playing out of his mind, as are his pass-catchers. But, with the inevitable attrition that has and will continue to occur on this roster, is a 31-28 split realistic down the stretch? If so, is that even sustainable for big-time success?In this writers opinion, its not. This isnt an indictment on anybody, but the 2005 trend we spoke of earlier is an outlier and not necessarily one to be relied upon for a Super Bowl run. Crazier things have happened, but more balance is definitely needed. I guess Ill put it this way: if youre asking if the style of play from Weeks 3 and 4 are sustainable for a legitimate run this year, Id say no. But, if the Bengals style of play transitions to some more akin to Weeks 1 and 2, then Id say yes, this team can cause problems for a lot of teams in the league. If youre unable to join us live for here at Cincy Jungle or YouTube every episode, all Orange and Black Insider content is available here on CJ, as well as on our SoundCloud, Stitcher, through the Google Play Music app and YouTube channels, as well as on iTunes! You can tweet us @BengalsOBI or get in touch with us via email at theobinsider@gmail.com. Thanks for listening and go subscribe to our channels!