The 2021 season was a dream for the Cincinnati Bengals. This franchise hadn’t won a playoff game since 1990, and the Bengals ripped that monkey off their back in a big way. They knocked off the Las Vegas Raiders, Tennessee Titans, and Kansas City Chiefs to win the AFC, and they had a lead in the fourth quarter before falling to the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI. However, it’s clear that the oddsmakers believe the Bengals were more than a little fortunate during that postseason run, as five teams have better odds to win the AFC than Cincinnati.
Cincinnati Bengals Season Win Total
Over 10 Wins +104
Under 10 Wins -124
2022 Cincinnati Bengals Schedule
|WEEK ||MATCHUP |
|1 ||Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers |
|2 ||@ Dallas Cowboys |
|3 ||@ New York Jets |
|4 ||Vs. Miami Dolphins |
|5 ||@ Baltimore Ravens |
|6 ||@ New Orleans Saints |
|7 ||Vs. Atlanta Falcons |
|8 ||@ Cleveland Browns |
|9 ||Vs. Carolina Panthers |
|10 ||BYE WEEK |
|11 ||@ Pittsburgh Steelers |
|12 ||@ Tennessee Titans |
|13 ||Vs. Kansas City Chiefs |
|14 ||Vs. Cleveland Browns |
|15 ||@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers |
|16 ||@ New England Patriots |
|17 ||Vs. Buffalo Bills |
|18 ||Vs. Baltimore Ravens |
Cincinnati Bengals Offense
Joe Burrow was incredible throughout the 2021 season. The No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft showed no ill affects after his rookie year was cut short by a major knee injury. Burrow was named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year, and he piloted one of the most explosive offenses in the league.
Cincinnati was tied for the league lead with 42 completions of 25+ yards as Burrow continually connected with LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase. That led to Chase being named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2021, as he immediately became an elite NFL receiver with 81 receptions for 1,455 yards (18.0 YPR!) and 13 touchdowns. Tee Higgins finished with over 1,000 receiving yards too, while Tyler Boyd was a quality underneath receiver with 828 yards.
Joe Mixon was one of the league’s leading rushers with 1,205 yards and 13 touchdowns, but Mixon averaged just 4.1 YPC. That played a part in why Cincinnati ranked just 13th in the NFL in total offense.
All of the skill position starters return save tight end C.J. Uzomah. However, this offense might take a step back in 2022 as the offensive line remains one of the worst in the league.
Cincinnati allowed a whopping 55 sacks last season, and the left side of the line is a major concern with unproven youngsters Jonah Williams and Jackson Carman. The Bengals signed Ted Karras, Alex Cappa, and La’el Collins in free agency, and all three players are expected to start.
If this offensive line doesn’t improve, you have to factor in the potential for injury with Burrow. He took some big shots in 2021, and he plays in a division with some of the best pass rushers in the NFL. The back-up quarterbacks are Brandon Allen and Jake Browning, so Cincinnati is in a bad spot if Burrow misses time.
Cincinnati Bengals Defense
The Bengals ranked at the top of the bottom half of the league in total defense (18th) and scoring defense (17th) last year. Cincinnati has a solid defensive line as D.J. Reader was a very underrated signing a couple years ago, and Trey Hendrickson has carved out a niche for himself with the Bengals. Hendrickson picked up 14 sacks in 2021.
Jessie Bates III is one of the top safeties in the league, but the cornerbacks for this team are a concern. Eli Apple and Chidobe Awuzie are a subpar tandem, and there isn’t much depth. That led to the Bengals taking defensive backs with their first two picks in the 2022 NFL Draft although they still have concerns along the offensive line.
Cincinnati was the worst division winner in the NFL last year. The Bengals won just 10 games, and they were very fortunate to get to the Super Bowl. This team is going to take a step back, so the ‘Under’ is the play. There’s a very good chance the Bengals finish the year with a losing record, and teams that lose in the Super Bowl tend to struggle the next season.
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