The Cincinnati Bengals head into the 2021 campaign feeling optimistic about the trajectory of their second-year QB Joe Burrow, but it will be a major storyline to see how he bounces back after an ACL injury ended his rookie season.
The Bengals finished last season with a 4-11-1 record, which is what you’d expect of a team with the first overall pick the previous draft as well as a team starting a rookie QB all season. The team made some big moves in free agency, adding potential starters at right tackle (Riley Reiff), in the secondary (Chidobe Awuzie, Eli Apple), and on the defensive line (Trey Hendrickson, Larry Ogunjobi).
But in order to make a run at the Lombardi this season they’ll need a lot of things to fall into place.
Cincinnati Bengals Super Bowl 56 odds: +10000
These odds check out for the Bengals, they’re a huge long shot to even make the playoffs coming out of the tough AFC North. They’ll have to go out and beat the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens at least once each to have a chance of squeaking into the Playoffs. Then, once they’re in it won’t get any easier with the likes of the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs probably waiting for them.
The team spent a lot of time this offseason building around Burrow, bolstering the offensive line to keep him from getting sacked a league-high 32 times in just 10 games again. That extra protection will make life easier for Burrow, as will their first-round draft pick and former LSU teammate of Burrow’s Ja’Marr Chase.
Still, they’ll be relying heavily on the young talent on the roster to traverse their way through an NFL schedule and be very successful doing it. They’ll need some epic collapses by their division rivals as well as an even bigger jump than expected in Burrow’s development to have a chance at coming away with the Lombardi.
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