The Cincinnati Bengals are among the favorites in the AFC. That should be no shocker to anyone. They have tons of offensive talent, and their passing game should be one of the best in the NFL once again.
On defense, they replaced lost talent fairly nicely during this offseason. They’ve proven that they can get it done on that side of the ball when necessary over the past two years.
The Bengals have more pressure on them than some may realize, though. They’ve got a number of important expiring contracts after this season, and everyone knows how good they can truly be. Dan Hanzus of NFL.com thinks that they must have a sense of urgency, too. Out of 10, Hanzus gives them a 9.4 “rating of urgency.”
It is a fair assessment for Cincy because they cannot underwhelm expectations. We all love us some Joe Burrow. That dude is the real deal.
Talent, charisma, leadership, a sense of the moment, swag for days — he’s everything you want from a franchise quarterback.
So, while it’s easy to nod your head in appreciation when Burrow tells reporters the Bengals’ Super Bowl window is “my whole career,” it’s also smart to temper that gusto with some reality. Dan Marino probably thought the same way Burrow does, and he never returned to the Super Bowl after his second season.
As Gregg Rosenthal pointed out in his Projected Starters series, the Bengals will return their entire offensive core for a third straight year.
With Burrow and his trio of standout wide receivers — Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd — closing in on free agency, the clock is ticking closer to midnight.
Cincinnati does a nice job drafting with an eye on the future these days, but the time to win with this talented, battled-tested core is right now. — Hanzus Adding some more veteran talent in free agency before the season may be smart for the Bengals. Keep an eye on them at the trade deadline, too.
They know the stage of competing that they are in with a top-end WR trio and Joe Burrow at the helm. They can’t afford to underperform.