The 2021 Cincinnati Bengals season is going to be a fun one for fans. Joe Burrow is trending towards being ready to start Week 1 after suffering an ACL injury. His return will be welcomed by a myriad of weapons to use with his former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase as the newest addition. This has Pro Football Focus predicting a big year from Cincinnati, and a particularly big one from Burrow.
Do the Bengals have the best playmakers in the AFC North? pic.twitter.com/h1U41x7Hme— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) June 4, 2021
If Burrow reaches that yardage it would be significant because a Bengals’ quarterback has never thrown for that many yards. Cincinnati has only ever had four seasons where their quarterback threw for over 4,000 yards. Andy Dalton (4.293 and 4,206) and Carson Palmer (4,131 and 4,035) each achieved it twice in their career. Burrow had 2,688 yards in 10 games, which put him on pace for roughly 4,300 yards last season.
It make sense that Burrow could be better in 2021 than 2020 for so many reasons despite recovering from his ACL injury. The biggest reason may be actually having an offseason to get together with his teammates and prepare in person. It may not be as intense as going through plays with defenders running at him, but him being able to throw to his receivers and get used to timing and nuances of each receiver for a few months should payoff early in the season.
There is also the matter of the offensive line being improved. It may not be fixed entirely, but not having to rely on guys like Bobby Hart and Michael Jordan is a huge improvement. That should have Burrow running for his life significantly less.
Finally, Chase coming in with a built in chemistry with Burrow fixes the biggest issue this team had in 2020, which was their deep passing game. Chase was Burrow’s favorite deep ball target back at LSU in 2019, and they made it look easy in the SEC against really good defenses. That isn’t to say Chase will come in and dominate the NFL, but even a slight improvement in that department where the Bengals were one of the worst teams in the NFL, should have a huge ripple effect on the entire offense.
It sounds a bit like offseason hyperbole to say that Burrow will have a record breaking season, but there is plenty of reason to think that record is easily attainable.