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Better, worse or same: Bengals running backs

Joe Mixon will continue carrying the load, but will Year 2 of Chris Evans bring an added dimension to the backfield?

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

While Joe Burrow and his elite receiving trio get most of the attention when it comes to the Cincinnati Bengals offense, one can’t forget just how important the running back group is.

Led by sixth-year man Joe Mixon, this is a group fully capable of carrying the offense when called upon, which should be even more true now that the offensive line has received significant upgrades.

In 2021, Mixon recorded career-highs in rushing yards (1,205), total touchdowns (16), receiving yards (314) and PFF grade (79.5). He’s had a 72+ PFF grade in all but one year, his injury-plagued 2020 season in which he played in just six games.

With Mixon now set to play behind the best offensive line he’s had in his pro career, there’s reason to believe 2022 could be another career year.

While Samaje Perine is clearly a downgrade, he too is capable of making big plays in the biggest moments, namely his 41-yard touchdown catch that sparked the Bengals’ 27-24 rally at Kansas City in the AFC title game after trailing 21-3.

Then you’ve got Chris Evans, who showed some nice flashes in limited touches as a rookie. He’ll definitely challenge Perine for more touches behind Mixon and could continue to get work as a kickoff returner depending on how Brandon Wilson’s recovery from a torn ACL goes.

So, do you think the running back group will be better, worse or the same this season? Sound off in the poll below and expand on it in the comments section!

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