The legend of Joe Burrow continues to grow after he led the Cincinnati Bengals on another deep playoff run in 2022/23, and more of the same is expected this season.
Having reached the NFL Championship in 2021, the Bengals have the expectation - of themselves and from fans - to make a deep postseason run every year. They fell just short in 2022/23, losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game.
It was another step forward for the franchise as star quarterback Joe Burrow hit new heights, establishing himself as one of the league's top QBs.
Many believe that with 'Joe Cool' under center, anything is possible for Cincinnati.
Click here to read all NFL Season Outlooks for the 2023/24 season.
|What||2023/24 NFL Season|
|When||September 8th, 2023 - February 11th, 2024|
|How to watch||ESPN, FOX, NBC, CBS and on-demand with NFL Game Pass|
|Bengals Odds||To Win Division +125, To Win Conference +500, To Win SBLVIII +1000|
1st in the AFC North (12-4), lost in the AFC Championship game.
The pieces are all there for the Bengals to make an NFL Championship run, and this could be the best opportunity they get for a while before the pain of needing to pay Burrow takes effect.
Burrow is entering the final year of his rookie contract and once the Bengals do hand him what’s likely to be a recording-breaking deal, it will be much harder to build a championship-caliber team around him.
There’s an argument to be made that Cincy’s NFL Championship window may have already closed after the off-season departures of some important pieces, including both starting safeties, corner Tre Flowers and tight end Hayden Hurst.
They are also counting on some defensive rookies making an immediate impact in the NFL in a hyper-competitive AFC Conference that contains 10 teams with NFL Championship ambitions.
And yet, with the coaching tree still intact, improvements made elsewhere - especially the offensive line - an offense still packed full of weapons, a good D-line largely unchanged and the presence of Burrow, there are more than enough reasons to believe the Bengals are an NFL Championship contender.
This team has beaten the best the AFC has to offer over the last two years and although they came up short against the Chiefs in the AFC decider, there wasn’t much between the teams.
The next step forward in Burrow’s development could see him become the best quarterback in the league and any team with that caliber of QB on their roster has a shot at the Lombardi Trophy.
Behind superstar quarterback Joe Burrow, the Bengals have established themselves among the NFL’s elite over the past two seasons. Since 2020/21, they have 22 regular season wins, two AFC Championship appearances, and a Super Bowl appearance.
Cincinnati is a +1000 shot To Win Outright, the fifth-shortest odds in the NFL to take home the Lombardi Trophy. They are +500 in the To Win Conference market, trailing the Chiefs (+350) and Bills (+475).
Believe the Bengals will light up the league in the regular season? They are +750 to have the Best Regular Season Record, while Burrow is second-favorite to win MVP at +650.
Zac Taylor is entering his fifth season as Bengals head coach and has seen it all in his time in Cincinnati, going from being the worst team in the league in his maiden campaign to reaching the NFL Championship two years later.
After a rocky start, Taylor is now well-established in Ohio and has built a solid team around him, including sought-after defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo.
Prior to arriving in Cincinnati, Taylor spent two years working on the offensive staff of the Los Angeles Rams, while he’d spent time at the Miami Dolphins before that with a one-year stint as the University of Cincinnati’s offensive coordinator in between.
LT Orlando Brown (Kansas City Chiefs)
RG Cody Ford (Arizona Cardinals)
TE Irv Smith (Minnesota Vikings)
DE Tarell Basham (Tennessee Titans)
CB Sidney Jones (Las Vegas Raiders)
S Nick Scott (Los Angeles Rams)
S Jessie Bates (Atlanta Falcons)
TE Hayden Hurst (Carolina Panthers)
S Vonn Bell (Carolina Panthers)
CB Tre Flowers (Atlanta Falcons)
RB Samaje Perrine (Denver Broncos)
CB Eli Apple
S Brandon Wilson
|Offensive MVP||Joe Burrow|
|Defensive MVP||DJ Reader|
|Top rookie||DJ Turner|
|Breakout star||Dax Hill|
Even on an offense that also features two of the NFL’s premier wide receivers, Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, four-time Pro Bowl lineman Orlando Brown and duel-threat running-back Joe Mixon, it’s impossible not to go for Burrow as MVP.
Along with smashing most of the Bengals’ quarterback-related team records, Burrow also became the NFL’s all-time leader in career completion percentage last season, surpassing Drew Brees.
DJ Reader is arguably the best nose tackle in the NFL based on last season’s form, returning from injury to be the rock in the middle of an above-average Bengals line. Reader is nearly-impossible to move, sheds blockers for fun, can single-handedly shut down an opponent’s run game and can even get to the quarterback given enough time.
The Bengals spent their first four draft picks on defensive players this season, with DJ Turner an interesting pick-up from Michigan.
The 22-year-old's movement and excellent man-to-man coverage skills should see him contribute straight away to Cincy's revamped secondary.
A key part of that secondary will be Dax Hill and with so much change in the back end of the defence, the Bengals will need the second year safety to take a big step forward next season.
Odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.