Those that had followed the team all season knew what they were capable of, but entering as underdogs in Tennessee and then in Kansas City, the top two seeds in the AFC, Cincinnati went on the road and had two improbable wins.
With Joe Burrow steering the ship and Ja’Marr Chase coming off an all-time great rookie season, where does that leave Cincinnati in 2022?
The Bengals addressed their most desperate need, offensive line in free agency, and then added Daxton Hill in the first round, helping bring speed and agility to the secondary.
Do their improvements mean they’re destined to be a top-five organization?
Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson is putting the break on the Bengals this season, ranking them as the 8th-overall team in his most recent power rankings.
“Ranking the Bengals this low seems harsh given they were close losers of last year’s Super Bowl, but there was an acknowledgment that the team overachieved last year. They were the AFC’s No. 4 seed before going on their playoff run, and even though they have done an excellent job attacking the weaknesses on the roster this offseason, it seems unlikely that they repeat that kind of improbable sequence of results this season. Cincinnati absolutely has the firepower to contend if things break its way, but the Bengals don’t quite have the overwhelming roster strength that some teams do,” Monson wrote.
While it’s easy to argue Cincinnati should be higher, the consistency hasn’t been there yet, and they did enter the playoffs as the fourth-best team in the conference. Proving last season was more than a fluke is what should be in store for the Bengals in 2022.
They’ve improved enough in their weakest areas to hopefully run the table this coming season.