A.J. Green, WR, fifth Pro Bowl selection
The Bengals have now had Pro Bowl selections in each of the past five seasons, and Green has been named to the game in all five. He is the only Bengals player to be named to the Pro Bowl in each of his first five seasons. The team has five Pro Bowl selections for the first time since 2005, the first year Marvin Lewis led the Bengals to the playoffs. Green's selection wasn't much of a surprise. He ranks sixth in the league in receiving yards with 1,206 and also has 77 receptions and eight touchdowns. Earlier this season, he joined Randy Moss as the only receivers in NFL history to have 1,000 or more receiving yards in each of their first five seasons.
Andrew Whitworth, OT, second Pro Bowl selection
At long last, Whitworth has been voted into the Pro Bowl. He was a 2012 participant as an alternate, but this is the first time the fans, players and coaches have sent him there through their ballots. Arguably one of the best left tackles in the NFL, Whitworth has been overlooked for years, primarily because he plays in a smaller market in Cincinnati. That the Bengals had three straight prime-time games might have helped him and others, Whitworth said last week when it was announced he was a top vote-getter in fan voting. "Every time you play on Monday night, Sunday night, you're building a bigger fan base," he said. "We've had more chances to be recognized."
Tyler Eifert, TE, first Pro Bowl selection
Another player voted in for the first time, Eifert is performing like a true Pro Bowl candidate in his third season. He split time with Jermaine Gresham as a rookie and then was part of only eight plays last year because of a dislocated elbow and nagging shoulder injury. Eifert has missed two of the past three games with neck and head injuries, but he still has the second-most receiving touchdowns in the league with 12. He had been leading the league much of the season but was passed this past week by three receivers, who all have 13.
Geno Atkins, DT, fourth Pro Bowl selection
Like Green, Atkins is no stranger to Hawaii. If he didn't make the Pro Bowl this year, then the entire selection process would have been a sham. In what has been a Defensive Player of the Year-caliber season, Atkins has been the real hero for the Bengals' defense. After slowly bouncing back from ACL surgery last year, this season he appears to be back to his old self. He has provided great pressure from the inside, recording sacks or forcing quarterbacks to throw errant passes that have led to interceptions on the back end. Atkins' 10 sacks are just 2½ off his career high.
Reggie Nelson, S, first Pro Bowl selection
Nelson is the third Bengals player to be voted into his first Pro Bowl, and there is no mistaking why. He leads the league in interceptions with a career-high eight. In recent weeks he has just had a knack for finding the football. Before Sunday, he had intercepted one pass in five straight games. Although that streak ended in Sunday's win at San Francisco, he still came within inches of intercepting three passes.
Andy Dalton, QB
It's amazing Dalton wasn't one of the six quarterbacks voted in, considering he was at one point in the MVP discussion. Not to mention, he has silenced many of the negative narratives about his play, en route to having arguably his best year in the league. Although the thumb injury he suffered two weeks ago might make arguments for a Pro Bowl appearance moot, he still wanted to be named to the game instead of appearing as an alternate. He has done that two other times, and technically could this year if he is healthy enough to play. "To be voted in right off the bat means more," Dalton said hours before the results were announced. "You know you made it. The other times, it's just that you got in because somebody else didn't play."
Adam Jones, CB
Jones continues to feel the wrath of Pro Bowl voters at a difficult position to crack. It seems like he has been playing his best ball the past three seasons, and this might be his best of the three. He is on pace for a career high in tackles, and he has already matched his interception totals from each of the past two years, despite missing two games with injuries. It's the first time since 2011 that he has missed a game. He was pegged as a seventh alternate.
Carlos Dunlap, DE
Like Atkins, Dunlap has had a tangible impact on the Bengals' defensive line. His 10½ sacks are a career high, and he needs 2½ more to tie the Bengals' single-season sacks record. Along with Dalton, he was a first alternate selection. Running back Cedric Peerman also was named a first alternate as a special-teamer.
Kevin Zeitler, OG
The fans had Zeitler high in their final voting tally, meaning it appeared promising that he might make it at least as an alternate.