Cincy went 10-6 last year, with 8.7 estimated wins and the 12th ranked DVOA. Their weighted DVOA ranked 7th, sandwiched between Chicago and Washington. Their running game is almost dead average, and their pass game is below the NFL median, even though it has a positive DVOA. Overall, their offense is essentially average, but that's more than enough to win when your defense ranked 3rd in weighted defense (ours ranked just 7th).
I was a Dalton skeptic during the 2011 draft, but I think he's proven me wrong. He showed real progress during the 2012 season when it came to progressing through reads and facilitating the offense.
I thought Cincy had a pretty nice draft. I was all for drafting Tyler Eifert at #25, had he reached us. Giovanni Bernard has that Chris Polk gene that I like in RBs. I wasn't a fan of Hunt and Williams, but both have the athleticism to prove me very wrong. Later on they'd add LB Sean Porter and Cobi Hamilton, two flawed but exciting football players that I really like. Porter is kind of like a hybrid of Bruce Irvin and KJ Wright, in that he's got a lot of reach and physicality like Wright but excels as a 3-4 type rusher like Irvin (probably) would. Hamilton can be nitpicked for technique but has size, speed, and college production in the SEC.
Not every pick the Bengals made was a homerun, but I think their draft places comfortably in the top 10 this year, based on my own evaluations. Their best picks happened to be areas where they needed help the most too (TE, RB, LB, WR). Cincy has drafted as well as any team not named the Seahawks over the last 4 years, too. So keep an eye on them.
This is a young team with the kind of physicality and youth you just don't see anywhere other than Seattle. Their division is crumbling around them. Yes, they did over-achieve last year a bit, but this isn't a team I'd bet against at all, at least in terms of making the playoffs.