The Cincinnati Bengals have high hopes of dominating in the AFC North division and making a run at the Kansas City Chiefs as AFC champions. If they can meet those expectations, they will get an opportunity to win the first Super Bowl in the organization's history.

The Bengals made it all the way to the AFC title game a year ago. They earned the AFC North title with a 12-4 record — their late-season game against the Buffalo Bills was canceled after Damar Hamlin's cardiac incident. The Bengals defeated the Ravens and the Bills in their first 2 postseason games.

They gave the Chiefs a major battle in the AFC title game before falling 23-20. That loss came a year after the Bengals fell to the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl.

Skill-position stars

If the Bengals are going to meet all expectations, they know that quarterback Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati offense is going to have to be healthy and perform at a consistently high level. Burrow has established himself as one of the elite signal callers in the NFL. He has an excellent crew of receivers who can consistently deliver big plays.

The best of that bunch is Ja'Marr Chase, who is a legitimate rival to Minnesota's Justin Jefferson as the No. 1 receiver in the league. Chase is joined by Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd as receivers who can make game-changing plays. Bengals fans have gotten used to seeing that trio make plays as Burrow enters his 4th season in the NFL.

In addition to Chase, Higgins and Boyd, running back Joe Mixon leads the ground game. Mixon rushed for a pedestrian 814 yards and a 3.9 yards per carry mark last year. However, he also contributed 60 receptions for 441 yards and 2 TDs.

The Bengals have the depth at the skill positions to light up the scoreboard on a consistent basis, but the front office must make sure head coach Zac Taylor has the support and depth to help the team meet its lofty goals.

Improving the offensive line

The Bengals made a huge move in the offseason to upgrade the offensive line. They signed Orlando Brown to man the left tackle spot.

Prior to signing with the Bengals, Brown played left tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs and he did a sensational job of protecting Patrick Mahomes. The Bengals faced Brown on a regular basis in recent years, and they know exactly what he can do. His presence will give the offensive line a big lift.

In addition to Brown, the Bengals will have Cordell Volson at left guard, Ted Karras at center, Alex Kappa at right guard and Jonah Williams at right tackle.

Prior to Brown's arrival, the Bengals had a solid offensive line, but one that did not reach the status of elite. Taylor and offensive coordinator Brian Callahan are hoping that Brown's addition will not only improve the play at the left tackle spot, but it will also raise the level of his fellow offensive linemen.

The right tackle spot is the most questionable on the offensive line. Williams allowed 12 sacks last year and he suffered knee dislocations on separate occasions last year. He is going to have to hold off Jackson Carman if he is going to man that position throughout the season

The trade that needs to be made

The offensive line is not just about the starters. Injuries are a part of the game, and even if the Bengals can stay healthy in that area throughout the season, the backups will see plenty of action.

The Bengals should take a look at making a trade on the offensive line to ensure that Burrow has a fighting chance to stay healthy for 17 regular season games.

If the Bengals were not a team with Super Bowl aspirations , they might want to look at other areas to improve before the start of the season. One of those areas is the secondary, because the Bengals ranked 23rd in pass defense a year ago.

But the biggest area of need is depth on the offensive line, and this is what they should pursue in a trade before the start of the season.

The Los Angeles Rams are coming off a disastrous 5-12 season, and they are not likely to challenge in a division that includes the Super Bowl hopeful San Francisco 49ers and the explosive Seattle Seahawks.

If the Bengals could entice the Rams to trade veteran right tackle Rob Havenstein, it could give them the kind of depth needed to achieve their championship aspirations.

Havenstein is heading into his 9th year in the NFL, and he has the needed experience to give the Bengals the depth that is needed to allow the offensive line perform at the highest level.