Bengals Record Prediction
As the NFL season draws near, teams are turning in their final 53-man rosters and finishing up preparations for the 2023 season. For the Cincinnati Bengals, expectations are high. After losing to a last-second field goal in the AFC Championship, the Bengals look to bounce back with some new faces at the helm.
The Bengals made two key additions, Orlando Brown from the Chiefs and Nick Scott from the Rams. Many of the other new faces came from the draft with Myles Murphy, DJ Turner, and Jordan Battle being the most notable additions. With all these new faces likely seeing significant playing time, I expect the Bengals to continue to have early season struggles. However, I think the offense will find their footing immediately, while the defense will struggle to keep up for the first couple weeks. The biggest flaw with the defense was illuminated by the Chiefs in the AFC Championship, when the Bengals couldn’t seem to apply any pressure to Patrick Mahomes. With that defensive struggle, I think similar games for this Bengals front-seven continue despite the addition of Myles Murphy. If this Bengals front-seven wants to improve past being an average pass rushing unit, Trey Hendrickson needs to return to his 2021 form, when he totaled 15 sacks, including a streak of 11 games when he had at least one. On top of that, Myles Murphy needs to make an immediate impact off the edge, which could be difficult to ask of the rookie.
What most fans are worried about is the Bengals plentiful question marks within the secondary. After the departure of both Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell from the safety room, the Bengals put last year’s first round pick Dax Hill, and Rams safety Nick Scott to hopefully fix the hole that was left. Obviously this isn’t a perfect replacement, but it is not as bad as many analysts are suggesting. Dax is an athlete, extremely fast, great range, and above average ball skills. He needs to work on his instincts and his consistency. Nick Scott is a seasoned veteran with a championship under his belt, but he’s not exactly going to elevate the defense. I don’t believe that this safety duo will be enough to bring Cincinnati to a halt in the playoffs.
Onto the game by game predictions, I expect a slow start to hinder the Bengals week one in Cleveland before rattling off four straight against the Ravens, Rams, Titans, and Cardinals. In week six before the bye, I have the Seahawks in an upset to bring the Bengals to 4-2 before their week seven bye.
After the bye I expect the Bengals to get hot, not only beating the 49ers on the road, but also beating the Bills on primetime and the Texans in Paycor in subsequent weeks. I expect the mini winning-streak to come to a halt against the Ravens in M&T Bank. In the following week I expect a Bengals win over the Steelers, before falling once again to the Jaguars on primetime. I then expect the Bengals to do what they did last year, and win the rest of the games on their schedule. All of that culminates in a 13-4 record, putting the Bengals first in the AFC.