After several seasons of tanking in the post Marvin Lewis-Andy Dalton era, the Bengals made the playoffs again and thanks to some Joey Burrow magic, Evan McPherson clutch kicks, and some sound defense, Cincy was really close to winning it all, but fell just short in the end, losing to the Rams in the Super Bowl.
Very similar to the Chiefs, the Bengals’ biggest strength is their vaunted passing attack, led by quarterback Joe Burrow and talented receivers Jamarr Chase and Tee Higgins. The main difference between the Chiefs and the Bengals is that Cincinnati actually has a Pro Bowl caliber running back in Joe Mixon. Head coach Zac Taylor did a wonderful job getting his abundance of weapons involved, as not only were Chase and Mixon the stars of the offense, but players like Higgins, C.J. Uzomah, and Tyler Boyd all got meaningful touches. The Bengals also did a fine job of addressing their glaring offensive line needs this offseason, signing guard Alex Cappa from Tampa Bay, tackle La’El Collins from Dallas, and center Ted Karras from New England.
The Bengals also have an impressive defense, led by star pass rusher Trey Hendrickson elite safety Jessie Bates III, the unit also has some underrated ballers like Mike Hilton, Sam Hubbard, Larry Ogunjobi, and Logan Wilson. Kicker Evan McPherson also deserves plenty of praise, after having probably the most clutch playoffs I have ever seen from a kicker.
The Bengals are still enjoying that perfect paradise of having a franchise caliber quarterback on a rookie contract, so with all the cap space they managed to patch most of the holes the team had entering the offseason. Still, no team is perfect, and despite the fact they are probably the most well rounded team in the AFC right now, the Bengals still have some flaws. Their biggest one is that their boundary corners are pedestrian, Chidobe Awuzie was okay at best, and other than him is Eli Apple, who had some underrated playoff games but is mostly not a guy you want to have getting over 75% of the snaps. This was clearly the toughest team to find clear cut flaws on. Continuing with the nitpicking, the Bengals’ depth is also questionable, but I guess most of the teams in the NFL suffer that same problem.
How they matchup with the Colts
Because of how balanced they are and how good their entire roster is, the Bengals can beat you in several different ways. Their defense is solid both against the run and against the pass, and they are also adept at causing turnovers. In the end, this would probably be a close one, going to whichever team has the ball last or makes the least amount of mistakes. I honestly don’t think the Colts have enough talent to beat the Bengals, and of all the powerhouses in the AFC, Cincinnati is the last team I want to face.