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Bengals have a painful ending in ESPN season simulation; projects team’s win totals

The Bengals couldn’t catch the Ravens in this ESPN simulation.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last two seasons, the Cincinnati Bengals have appeared in back-to-back AFC Championships, including a Super Bowl appearance.

With how talented the roster is, there is no reason that isn’t the standard going into 2023.

However, the latest ESPN simulation does not seem to think so...

ESPN’s Seth Walder has the Bengals not only being swept by the Ravens in the regular season but also losing to Baltimore in the Wild Card Round of the NFL Playoffs.

This, while the Bengals have won four of the last five meetings between these two division rivals, and the lone defeat was a last-minute two-point loss in Baltimore last season.

In Week 2, the Ravens took an early edge in the division race by winning an 18-12 defensive struggle against the Bengals that dropped Cincy to 0-2. By Week 8, the Bengals had fought back, taking a half-game lead over Baltimore. But that’s when Jackson really got hot and engineered a four-game winning streak — including a 19-17 victory over the Bengals — reminding us of the Jackson who was once league MVP. In the end, the Bengals couldn’t catch them. The Ravens won the division as an 11-win No. 3 seed, while the Bengals finished one game back as the No. 6 seed. The rivals squared off a third time in the playoffs, with the result mirroring the first two. Jackson flourished and the Ravens sacked Joe Burrow five times in a 31-19 defeat to send Cincinnati home.

Walder then has the Ravens losing to the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl.

Elsewhere,’s Cynthia Frelund projected every NFL team’s win totals in terms of floor and ceiling. For the Bengals, she had the floor at 8.8 wins and the ceiling at 11.9 wins.

Losing not one but two upper-tier safeties in the offseason is never an easy thing for a defense to overcome, but the good news is Cincinnati’s new starters at the position aren’t brand new to the NFL. 2022 first-round pick Dax Hill got a chance to learn behind Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell before they departed this offseason, and Nick Scott was a 16-game starter for the Rams last year. Also, there are a lot of options for defensive back formations with the team’s veteran corners.

It’s not quite as promising as CBS’ floor and ceiling for the Bengals. CBS had the floor at 11-6 with a Divisional Round loss, while the ceiling was 14-3 and a Super Bowl victory.