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NFL analytics expert projects Bengals’ 2021 season

The NFL’s Cynthia Frelund ran hundreds of thousands of simulations on the 2021 season, and the Bengals don’t do well.

NFL: AUG 29 Preseason - Dolphins at Bengals Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Cincinnati Bengals fans are hoping that 2021 is the year Zac Taylor turns things around.

After winning only two games in his first year, and four games in his second, fans are hoping for a bigger leap in Year 3.

However, NFL analytics expert Cynthia Frelund doesn’t see that happening. According to her projections, the Bengals continue the pattern of adding two wins to the previous years’ total.

Frelund, who NFL.com uses to take mathematical approaches to predicting outcomes, ran thousands of simulations of the 2021 season. According to NFL.com, Frelund ran “300,000 runs of every single regular-season game, which equals 81,600,000 total games ‘played.’”

Unfortunately, these projections did not favor the Bengals. According to the simulations, the Bengals’ expected win total is 5.8, with a ceiling of 6.8 wins and a floor of 2.1.

Here’s what she said:

The Bengals have my model’s 28th-ranked offensive line. Not ideal. On the plus side, rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase forecasts to score at least seven receiving touchdowns in 57.0 percent of simulations, while Joe Burrow’s median passing projection (4,403 yards) has him netting the most throwing yards in the AFC North.

Ironically, even if Burrow leads the division in passing, the Bengals are projected to finish last behind the Browns (10.9 projected win total), Ravens (10.8), and Steelers (8.4).

Not only would the Bengals be last in the AFC North, but they would be sixth-worst in the entire league.

One interesting note is that the Bengals have a floor-to-ceiling difference of 4.7 wins. According to NFL.com, “a big discrepancy means the team is projected to play in more close games.”

Since the Bengals “actual” win projection is far closer to the ceiling than the floor, that would indicate that the Bengals would actually win most of their close games. Since the Bengals are 2-13-1 in one-score games under Taylor, that would be some improvement.

Of course, the flip side to that is that the Bengals are projected to suffer more blowouts.