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4 way too early predictions for the Bengals in the 2022 NFL Season

Bengals, Ja'Marr Chase, 2022 NFL season, Bengals 2022 NFL season, Joe Burrow, Bengals receivers

To say that the Cincinnati Bengals were the biggest surprises of the 2021 season is an understatement. Long heralded as the laughingstock of the AFC North, Cincy shocked the NFL world by storming their way into the playoffs… then into the Super Bowl. It was an impressive turnaround for a team that had just picked at number five during the last draft.

Now, expectations are sky-high for the Bengals coming into the 2022 NFL season. The conference as a whole reloaded and re-armed their way into title contention. In contrast, Cincy chose to be more low-key with their moves, solidifying their offensive line without tinkering too much with the lineup.

With that in mind, let’s have a little fun and make some way-too-early predictions for the Bengals in the upcoming 2022 NFL season.

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Bengals Way Too Early Predictions For The 2022 NFL Season

Bengals’ receivers will feast

One of the biggest standouts for the Bengals in the 2021 NFL season was their star-studded receiving trio. Widely regarded as the best WR corps in the league, Joe Burrow had three insane receivers to choose from in his offense. The speedy Ja’Marr Chase was the headliner, setting bonkers rookie records en route to the RotY award. Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd were no slouches either, with either receiver arguably a WR1 talent in any other team.

Heading into the 2022 season, there’s plenty of reason for these Bengals receivers to continue their stellar run at the top. The improvements to the offensive line will only help the trio get more receptions instead of watching Joe Burrow get sacked again and again.

The last time a receiving trio cracked 1,000 yards each was in 2008. Can Chase, Higgins, and Boyd do the same thing in 2022 for the Bengals?

Jessie Bates gets paid mid-way through the season

Jessie Bates’ contract situation is the lone dark spot in what was otherwise a successful off-season for the Bengals. The free safety was on fire for the team in the post-season, locking down what was arguably the weakest link on the defense. However, during the off-season, Bates was given the franchise tag, much to his dismay.

Since then, Bates has hinted at potentially sitting out the 2022 season for the Bengals. While it would make a loud statement, it’s highly unlikely that pushes through with that decision. Bates will more than likely play out the tag. Then, the front office will come to their senses, realize Bates is the best player on their defense, and pay him accordingly.

Joe Burrow will get sacked less than 25 times

Did you know that Joe Burrow took the most sacks in a single season last year? That factoid spread like wildfire amongst Bengals fans last season, and for good reason. The franchise quarterback took a brutal beating behind his shoddy offensive line, getting sacked 51 times in the regular season and adding 19 more in the playoffs for good measure. (stats from Pro Football Reference)

That number is historic, but it will likely never happen again for the Bengals star quarterback in 2022. As mentioned earlier, Cincy’s major moves were meant to add protection to their quarterback. La’el Collins, Ted Karras, and Alex Cappa all come from teams that had solid interior play. That knowledge will undoubtedly be passed on to their new teammates.

Sure, Burrow will still take his fair share of sacks in 2022 (the Bengals quarterback does love going for the big play, after all). However, he will more than likely not even hit half of his sack total from last year’s regular season.

Bengals will win AFC North

The AFC North is the Bengals’ to lose in the 2022 NFL season.

Out of all of the teams in the division, Cincinnati has the least question marks surrounding them. Pittsburgh could either be a fringe contender or a team fighting for the first overall pick next year. Baltimore, well, their injury concerns last season make them a bit of a mystery this year. And Cleveland… well, they don’t even know if their new QB will be able to play!

It certainly won’t be an easy win for the Bengals. However, they’re probably, most likely, going to win the AFC North for the second year in a row in 2022.