If you follow Jason La Canfora, you know by now a lot of his predictions turn out to be way off, especially when it comes to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Hopefully, that continues with his latest one, as La Canfora included the Bengals in his list of six NFL teams headed for an ugly 2021 season.
“Joe Burrow has been very upfront about the mental demons he is facing coming back from major knee surgery. And all the coaches are saying the right thing … But this is going to be an arduous process and no one is flicking a switch Week 1. Last year’s injury will bleed into this season and there remain major questions about the linemen comprising the first-team offensive line. “The interior offensive line is a problem,” said one exec who has watched the Bengals. Ja’Marr Chase will ultimately be fine, but a case of the yips or the drops or whatever you want to call them can in no way be construed as a positive development. Playing in the AFC North does them no favors. The specter of how Burrow’s rookie season ended will hang over them, and this team should be better in December than it is in September, but anytime your franchise QB is going through something like this it’s going to color your training camp panorama, and conjure questions.”
The Bengals certainly have their work cut out for them this season, but they actually have a chance to match last season’s four-win total before they even hit their Week 10 bye.
Within the first nine weeks, they have four very winnable games vs. the Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions, New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars. There’s also a Week 2 road game at Chicago that’s winnable. And in Week 9, the Cleveland Browns come to town after last year’s thriller in PBS that came down to the final seconds.
Granted, the second half of the schedule is daunting, but if Joe Burrow stays healthy, I feel confident in predicting these Bengals will win at least six games, which is what they’ve won over the last two years combined.
Those were ugly seasons. This one has the chance to provide a lot of hope for the future of this franchise.