In terms of sheer talent and depth, the Bengals have one of the best groups of offensive talent any NFL team will field in 2017.
A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert are among the best players at their respective positions across the league. Joe Mixon was (arguably) the most talented running back in this year’s NFL Draft. John Ross is a burner who will upgrade any offense. And lest we forget, Andy Dalton is a franchise quarterback.
Whether the combination of those players and more develops into an offense that will strike fear into opposing defenses remains to be seen, but the potential is certainly there. However, NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling did not list the Bengals among his ranking of the 10 best offenses heading into 2017, which went as follows:
There’s no question New England, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Oakland, Dallas and New Orleans all have potent offenses. The Packers probably have a better offense than Cincinnati, though you could make an argument for the Bengals being the superior unit.
But the Chargers?
Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon, Brandon Oliver (off a torn Achilles) Keenan Allen (off an ACL tear), Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin, Hunter Henry, Mike Williams and Antonio Gates (at age 37 when season opens) offer a very good unit.
But is it better than A.J. Green, Andy Dalton, Joe Mixon, Jeremy Hill, Giovani Bernard (off an ACL tear), Tyler Eifert, John Ross, Brandon LaFell and Tyler Boyd?
And it’s not like the offensive lines are much different, being that neither has anything to brag about.
For the Titans, I think the argument is even more in the favor of the Bengals. Marcus Mariota, Corey Davis, DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry, Delanie Walker, Rishard Matthews and Tajae Sharpe combine for a great unit, but it’s not better than the Bengals’ skill positions.
However, the Titans have a vastly better offensive line, which evens the playing field with Cincinnati.
With the Buccaneers, I don’t think there’s any question Cincinnati is superior. Jameis Winston, Doug Martin, Charles Sims, Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Cameron Brate, O.J. Howard, Adam Humphries and Chris Godwin have a lot of promise, but it doesn’t measure up to the Bengals.
Tampa is another team whose offensive line is right on part with that of Cincinnati. Further falling in line with why the Bengals should have been ahead of them in this ranking.
However, a lot of Cincinnati’s potentially high-powered offense will rely on unproven rookies in Mixon and Ross to make major impacts. They should do that, but it’s fair to not give them much, if any love in projections such as this ranking. But, you could say the same for many other rookies mentioned above such as Williams, Davis, Godwin and Howard.
None of this really matters, as it’s up to the Bengals to prove how good they are, but it’s clear they won’t get much, if any respect entering the 2017 season.