Many Bengals fans may have skipped checking on the power rankings in 2019 with the team only managing to win two games. It isn’t shocking to find out they spent most of the season ranked 32 overall.
Mind you, this was a season where the team played without A.J. Green and was relying on Andy Dalton to try and elevate talent around him as injuries spread spread through the team like a wildfire.
The 2020 season seems to have far more promise. The team just drafted Joe Burrow, fresh off one of the best seasons ever by a college quarterback, had Green sign his franchise tag, and spent a whole lot of money in free agency to improve their struggling defense.
With those changes in mind, we can see why the Bengals seem to have a slightly more positive trajectory in ESPN’s future power rankings that focus on ranking where teams futures compare over the next three seasons.
Although, a 27th overall ranking still seems pretty low.
“Why they’re here: There’s nowhere to go but up for Cincinnati, which landed the prize of the 2020 draft in Joe Burrow to kickstart the rebuild. But the Bengals’ willingness to spend in free agency also shows the potential turning over of a new leaf. There are many roster holes (the offensive line is a focus), but Cincy has a chance to establish an upward trajectory soon. — Yates”
This seems like a pretty great ranking for a regular power ranking, but the idea that the Bengals aren’t setup for a future that isn’t even the middle of the NFL is pretty weird.
The one thing really working against Cincinnati here is Burrow being a rookie and still having to prove he can play at an NFL level. This team should be substantially better off in most areas in 2020 with players returning from injuries and free agent signings, and to expect this team to take longer than three years to gel just seems off.
We also have to wait and see if the Bengals will keep the same energy they brought to this past offseason going with their activity in free agency. If they aggressively bring in free agents next season again, we could see this team becoming more competitive even quicker.
I think the most obvious solution here is to allow Burrow and this team to show where it is compared to the team that could only manage two wins last season. It may not start Week 1, but we should see some improvements over the course of the season that shows this team has a very bright future.