As the reigning AFC champs and a team that went to the Super Bowl, the Cincinnati Bengals typically project to sit in the top five of most power rankings.
But perhaps not all of them. In fact, a new set of power rankings has the Bengals nearly toppling out of the top 10, landing at eight.
Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson placed Cincinnati in the “Could be their year” category:
“Ranking the Bengals this low seems harsh given they were close losers of last year’s Super Bowl, but there was an acknowledgment that the team overachieved last year. They were the AFC’s No. 4 seed before going on their playoff run, and even though they have done an excellent job attacking the weaknesses on the roster this offseason, it seems unlikely that they repeat that kind of improbable sequence of results this season. Cincinnati absolutely has the firepower to contend if things break its way, but the Bengals don’t quite have the overwhelming roster strength that some teams do.”
Admittedly, the Bengals are a very tough team to project. They had great injury luck last year that probably won’t happen again and the schedule in 2022 could be much tougher.
But the other side of the coin is the team improved the offensive line and depth in key areas like cornerback and was one of the least penalized teams in football last year, which should continue given the continuity of the players and along the coaching staff.
As a whole, power rankings aim to project by looking at rosters and can’t lean too much into what happened a year ago. Plus, the Bengals will be more than happy to use things like this to fit their underdog narrative as they attempt to make it all the way back.