The Cincinnati Bengals are 0-2 to start the 2023 season. It comes after two fairly frustrating outings against AFC North rivals. Many teams would start to feel that things have been lost or waiver in their confidence. That doesn’t appear to be the Bengals, and why should they?
As wide receiver Tee Higgins told reporters, this is a familiar place for them.
“Obviously, no one likes it, but we’ve been here before,” Higgins said. “It’s just all about bouncing back and going and winning one next week.”
Last season, Cincinnati also started 0-2, and all the statistics about 0-2 teams historically struggling to make the playoffs started popping up as they normally do. The thing is, a vast majority of teams that start 0-2 aren’t good teams. The Bengals still have a very talented roster.
Cincinnati ended up working their way to 4-4 in 2022 before rattling off eight straight regular season wins. They didn’t have a cake schedule that year either after winning the AFC North in 2021. This team does have the ability to go on these extended winning streaks.
The real frustration is the expectation for this year was to not only win the AFC North but compete for one of the top two seeds in the AFC. Something the Bengals haven’t had in the Joe Burrow and Zac Taylor era. Winning the North becomes that much harder dropping to 0-2 in the division, and the teams that end up at the top of the AFC are the teams that win the ones like the game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. It isn’t always the best teams that end up at those spots. You also need to squeak out some win in games you had no reason winning.
This team is a healthy Burrow away from being a serious contender, and that confidence is apparent in the locker room. They just may have lost their way to an easier route of doing it.