While the summer season brings much enjoyment to the average person, for an NFL fan, it represents a desolate wasteland where Sundays just aren't quite as vibrant as in the autumn months. However, with each passing day, we inch closer to the beginning of the 2023 NFL season, which officially kicks off on September 8 this year.
Whether you've had your favorite team's tweet notifications turned on all summer or if you've decided to tune out all football news entirely, you'll be able to learn everything you need to know about your team going into the 2022-23 season right here.
In today's article, I'll be discussing the Cincinnati Bengals .
I'm working on season guidebooks for all 32 NFL teams, which will all be released within the next few weeks. To check out another team's guidebook, click here:
2021 Season Recap
Cincinnati vastly exceeded most expectations of them going into last season. While there was hope that QB Joe Burrow would have a nice bounce back season after suffering an ACL tear in his rookie season, almost no one predicted them to perform as well as they did.
The Bengals went 10-7 in the regular season and won their division, making the playoffs for the first time in six years. Not only did they make the playoffs, they knocked off the #1 seed in the divisional round and the defending conference champions in the AFC title game to make their first Super Bowl appearance since 1988. Despite losing the big game in a nail biter, Bengals fans were ecstatic at how their team performed in the postseason.
Significant Roster Moves
Cincinnati experienced some turnover on the offensive line in the off season, which is probably beneficial for them given their lack of protection for Burrow last season was their prime weakness. Proven veterans Alex Cappa, La'el Collins, and Ted Karras will hopefully provide better block support in both the run and pass game. Hayden Hurst will replace C.J. Uzomah, who signed with the Jets, and Trenton Irwin will take the place of Auden Tate, who is now with the Falcons. DT Larry Ogunjobi and CB Trae Waynes depart from the defense, which is where the organization focused their efforts in the 2022 draft.
2022 Draft Class
Cincinnati's goal for this year's draft was clear: load up on defensive backs and D-linemen. The offense, with the exception of the O-line, is more or less set in stone, but there were some question marks that needed answered on defense. Some of these selections should be able to make near immediate impacts in the 2023 season.
The Bengals will take on the AFC East and the NFC South in 2023 to go along with their six divisional games. Their other three opponents are the Dallas Cowboys, Tennessee Titans, and Kansas City Chiefs. With an opponent prior season win percentage of .536, Cincinnati has the third hardest schedule in the NFL.
Cincinnati's primetime games include a Thursday night game versus Miami, two Sunday night games at Baltimore and at Pittsburgh, and two Monday night games at Cleveland and versus Buffalo.
The Bengals return 17 of their 22 offensive and defensive starters from last year, which makes them set up to have another successful season. With one of the best young quarterbacks in the league, a loaded receiving corps, and a bolstered defense, they shouldn't miss a beat in 2022.
There were no changes to the head coaching position or coordinators in the offseason. Zac Taylor enters his third season as head coach of the Bengals.
Oddsmakers have set the regular season win total for Cincinnati at 10 games. As of right now, the Bengals are the second likeliest team to win the AFC North and the fifth likeliest team to win the AFC. At +2200 to win the 2023 Super Bowl, they are tied for 10th among all teams in the league.
Bucket Squad Predictions
I'm picking Cincinnati to repeat as AFC North champions and make the playoffs in back-to-back years. However, due to the strength of other teams in the AFC and stiff divisional competition, I think the Bengals will finish fourth in the conference.
What do you think? Will Cincinnati be better or worse than I'm projecting? What offseason moves made by the Bengals surprised you the most? Leave a comment down below and be sure to check the "NFL" section of the website for more NFL team guidebooks as I finish them.
Written by Nick Swatson
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Expert Nick Swatson discusses all the news, predictions, and outcomes surrounding the NFL.