However, they will also be in one of the most divisions in football - one that features Browns’ Deshaun Watson, Ravens’ Lamar Jackson and a team that hasn’t gone under .500 in well over a decade.
Considering that, where do they stack up in terms of talent in the AFC North? Having won the division in two-straight years, the Bengals, per Sports Illustrated’s Matt Verderame, are the top roster in the division.
“Offensively, quarterback Joe Burrow is an MVP candidate, while Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd are the league’s top trio of receivers. Cincinnati figures to be dominant once more and will likely be the top challenger to Kansas City in what is a loaded AFC,” Verderame wrote.
He’s not wrong either, but at least someone other than us saying it sounds a bit less biased. The Bengals have retained defensive talent in Germaine Pratt and also added it with their first three picks in the draft, including Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy.
The defense is the side of the ball that is expected to be more of the wild card. Still, with Lou Anarumo at the helm, they should be just as impressive as last season, especially if Dax Hill can take a leap forward and become a starting-quality safety.
Offensively, the team added left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., and he should help secure superstar quarterback Joe Burrow. That said, the AFC North does have talent, so it’s quite the compliment to Cincinnati from Verderame.
Pittsburgh may be among the best defenses in the NFL with Baltimore having solid contributors on both sides of the field. Cleveland will be a surprise in terms of which Watson comes to play in 2023, but it has an immensely high ceiling this upcoming season.