Sometimes in the NFL, a team can be set up with plenty of talent and a great plan for the season.
However, the thing that can derail even the best teams is injuries. It hasn’t always been easy to quantify how much some teams get impacted than others, but Football Insiders has tried to do just that by finding each team’s Average Games Lost (ADG).
Here is a bit of their explanation of how they find that number:
Adjusted games lost doesn’t just add up total injuries. It accounts for both absent players and those playing at less than 100%, and it gives more weight to injuries to expected starters and situational players than to expected backups. As such, AGL estimates the impact of injuries on teams and provides a comparable total that often succinctly explains why teams improved or declined from one year to the next.
TL:DR: Better players missing times have a bigger impact, but also players who play injured also have an impact. The smaller the number, the better.
Now we can talk about how the Cincinnati Bengals have fared in this field, and given their recent success, it shouldn’t be a surprise they have done well.
They finished 10th this season with an ADG of 56.4, which was an improvement from 60.2 the previous season. The ADG was also split between offense and defense.
The offense had an ADG of 28.2 (10th in the NFL) and the defense had 28.4 (11th). The main things that likely hit the Bengals were Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins missing a few games each, Corner back Chidobe Awuzie also didn’t play after Halloween. The most noticeable injuries felt like the flurry of offensive linemen injured to end the season, which likely pushed them to the No. 10 spot.
How much of a correlation does this actually have with teams doing well? Well, the Kansas City Chiefs ranked fourth, and the Philadelphia Eagles ranked third. However, it isn’t a direct correlation.
The Pittsburgh Steelers led the league after only having their offensive starters miss a total of two games all season. They didn’t make the playoffs, though a big part of that was figuring out the quarterback situation after veteran Mitch Trubisky started the year before rookie Kenny Pickett finished it.
It is definitely something to watch going forward with this team. Depth at certain positions (offensive line) has been a major issue for the Bengals, so hopefully, they’ll continue bolstering that position after adding Orlando Brown Jr. and Cody Ford, while Jonah Williams is set to be traded away.