Can the Bengals Win the AFC North and 14 Games This Season?


Jul 7, 2023

Let’s shift our NFL focus onto the Cincinnati Bengals, who appear to be the rising stars of the AFC North. The Bengals, having left a promising impression with a solid 12-4 season record last year, seem to be heading in the right direction.

This season has seen an undeniable boost to their performance, marking a career-high for Joe Burrow since he was drafted in the 2020 NFL Draft. The team now boasts a significantly improved offensive line, which could be a notable strength moving forward. It’s worth noting that depth isn’t an issue for this team, with the potential to go nine or ten deep.

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Burrow’s performance has indeed been commendable, though the frequency of his sacks remains a concern. That being said, his tenacity and resilience are admirable, often managing to power through difficult situations.

There are, however, a few points of concern for the Bengals. Notably the departure of Hayden Hurst, who was a reliable safety blanket for the team last season, to sign a free-agent deal with Carolina. Irv Smith Jr., the highly athletic tight end, is coming off significant ankle surgery. His recovery and performance will be key to the team’s success.

On the defensive end, the loss of all-pro safety Jessie Bates to Atlanta leaves a considerable gap. While Dax Hill, the second-rounder out of Michigan, and Vonn Bell will undoubtedly step up to the plate, Bates’ absence will be felt.

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Moreover, there’s a notable lack of depth in the cornerback position that may pose challenges. Nonetheless, the Bengals’ offensive prowess, backed by an impressive front seven, one of the best in the National Football League, is expected to compensate for these shortcomings.

With an improved line, there’s no stopping the Bengals from winning 12 games with ease, possibly even 13 or 14, if we’re to estimate based on their current form and Burrow’s caliber. However, the tight end position does pose a concern following Hurst’s departure, leaving a vulnerability that other teams could potentially exploit. Yet, with Burrow at the helm, an absolute powerhouse of a quarterback, the Bengals seem well-positioned to navigate these challenges successfully.

While there may be a few bumps along the road, the Cincinnati Bengals are a team to watch out for, poised to make significant strides in the AFC North.

Thumbnail photo via USA TODAY Sports Images

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