The Cincinnati Bengals, long synonymous with losing and disappointment in the NFL, have now established themselves as one of the very best teams. The offense has a stacked nucleus of skill-position players. The defense was surprisingly solid, especially against the run. And the team made significant moves during the offseason to address two of its biggest weaknesses from 2021: defensive backfield and offensive line. Now they face the one big question that every Super Bowl bridesmaid faces the following season: Can they avoid the hangover?
We’ll take a look at the latest DraftKings Sportsbook lines and predict if the Bengals can surpass their 2022 win total of 10.
2022 Bengals schedule with odds
|1||Sep. 11||Pittsburgh Steelers||-6.5|
|2||Sep. 18||at Dallas Cowboys||+1.5|
|3||Sep. 25||at New York Jets||-5|
|4||Sep. 29||Miami Dolphins (Thu)||-4|
|5||Oct. 9||at Baltimore Ravens||+1|
|6||Oct. 16||at New Orleans Saints||-1|
|7||Oct. 23||Atlanta Falcons||-10|
|8||Oct. 31||at Cleveland Browns (Mon)|
|9||Nov. 6||Carolina Panthers||-8.5|
|11||Nov. 20||at Pittsburgh Steelers||-2.5|
|12||Nov. 27||at Tennessee Titans||pk|
|13||Dec. 4||Kansas City Chiefs||pk|
|14||Dec. 11||Cleveland Browns|
|15||Dec. 18||at Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+3|
|16||Dec. 24||at New England Patriots (Sat)||-1|
|17||Jan. 2||Buffalo Bills (Mon)||pk|
|18||Jan. 7 or 8||Baltimore Ravens||-3|
Why the Bengals will go over their win total
They are really talented. How’s that for #analysis? There just aren’t many teams that can match what the Bengals have on offense with Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. But the Bengals also have impact players on defense such as defensive tackle D.J. Reader, edge rusher Trey Hendrickson and safety Jessie Bates. Plus, with the additions of offensive linemen La’el Collins, Alex Cappa and Ted Karras, Cincinnati has put in the effort to fix an O-line that allowed the third-most sacks last season.
Plus, the Bengals play in a division with the rebuilding Steelers and a Browns squad that may or may not have a quarterback when this season begins. Games against the Jets, Falcons and Panthers at least look like easy wins. While the schedule is backloaded with contests against some formidable foes (Chiefs, Buccaneers and Bills), Cincinnati should be able to fatten up its win total as its faces only two playoff teams (Steelers and Cowboys) before its Week 10 bye.
Why the Bengals will go under their win total
When you fall just short of grabbing the big, brass ring, it can be difficult to regroup, clear your head and start to trek back through the NFL gauntlet. The Super Bowl hangover has been far less prevalent over the previous 10 years than it was in the decade before that, but the 2016 Panthers, 2019 Rams and 2020 49ers all took a sizable step back after winning their conference the previous season. But for the Bengals to fall short of 10 wins — their regular-season win total from 2021 — they will likely have to run into a bunch of bad luck. Maybe they suffer a rash of injuries. Maybe the new signings don’t fix what ails the Bengals. Maybe some players’ production inexplicably slumps.
Prediction: Over 10 wins
Although they now carry the burden of high expectations, you could certainly argue that this Bengals team is better than the 2021 iteration. Many of the main pieces from last year’s squad are back, and many of their concerns entering this offseason have been addressed. They should be able to clear the 10-win bar with some room to spare.
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