2021 Cincinnati Bengals Predictions with Odds to Win Super Bowl
Outside of Joe Burrows NFL debut, I can’t remember the last time I was excited to watch the Bengals play. The Bengals have been a team of misery spanning their entire existence. And outside of four division titles since 2005, there hasn’t been much to celebrate. They haven’t been to the postseason since 2015, and that last appearance was their fifth Wild Card Round loss in a row and sixth in seven seasons. They have had five losing seasons in a row, and we expect them to make it six this year with a team that leaves a lot to be desired. Sure, Burrow is returning to the starting quarterback position alongside guys like Joe Mixon and Tyler Boyd. However, going from four wins to 10+ and a playoff berth is highly unlikely.
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The Bengals will open up the regular season on September 12 at home against the Minnesota Vikings. From there, the Bengals travel to Chicago and Pittsburgh before returning home to host Jacksonville and Green Bay. After that, they hit the road for three games with stops in Detroit, Baltimore and New York (to play the Jets). At best, that’s a 3-5 record halfway through the season. As of writing this, the Bengals are extreme longshots to win the Super Bowl, checking in at +10000. They are also +5000 to win the AFC and +2500 to win the AFC North.
Let’s take a look at what to expect from each unit heading into this season.
Key Players: Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon, Tyler Boyd
To be honest with you, I am a Burrow fan. The dude can flat out play. And before he went down with his season-ending knee injury, he was starting to excite the Bengals’ fan base and starting to put some belief back into the locker room. While it wouldn’t be fair to criticize him for the wins and losses over his first 10 games, it is fair to talk about his impressive 65 percent completion rate and the 2,688 passing yards and 13 touchdowns he accounted for. Burrow was never going to lead the team to Super Bowl glory in his first season. He was brought in to be the face of the franchise and lead the team to steady progression over a few years. Year 2 will be better. And with the Bengals having offensive weapons surrounding him, Burrow should thrive – if his knee holds up.
A lot of the onus will fall on Mixon to produce out of the backfield and keep the defense honest. Mixon is a highly skilled running back that hasn’t quite put it all together yet. He managed just six games last year due to injury, so he’ll be looking for a bounce-back season as well.
On the outside, Boyd is a receiver I really like and one that will need to continue to take strides forward in development. Boyd caught just 79 balls last year for 841 yards in 15 games. He was without Burrow for the last six of those games, so those numbers are a tad skewed. Boyd does have two 1,000-yard seasons to his name, and we believe he gets his third this season.
Defense & Special Teams
Key Players: Sam Hubbard, Logan Wilson
Defensively, the Bengals were a disaster last season. They consistently put the offense in impossible situations by failing to keep leads and just giving up a ton of points. How can a team as young as the Bengals win football games if the defense gives up 26.5 points per game (22nd overall), 148 rushing yards per game (29th overall) and 241 passing yards per game (19th overall)? The defense needs to take strides in improving. And with the division they play in taking steps forward in terms of offense, we don’t see that happening this year. As for special teams, the Bengals will rely on Austin Seibert to kick extra points and field goals, and we believe he will provide consistency in the kicking game.
I want the Bengals to be good because I want to see Burrow succeed. Unfortunately, outside of the few key pieces on offense, the team as a whole leaves a lot to be desired. The offensive line is shaky. And with Burrow coming back from a knee injury, I’m a little weary on the line’s ability to protect him and keep him upright. Defensively, the team needs a drastic overhaul, and I just don’t see that happening. The defensive unit was among the worst in the league in most major categories. And with a daunting schedule against high-powered offenses, we don’t see them providing the kind of defense a young team needs.
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