The Cincinnati Bengals, for whatever reason, love to open an NFL season by starting very slow, only to heat up as the season progresses. Could this again happen in 2023? After another 0-2 start, the Bengals have won three of four games and are now back to .500. They are right in the mix for the AFC North title and could be preparing to go on yet another run in the regular season.
In 2022, the team started 0-2 and finished with a 12-4 record in the regular season. In 2021, the team went 5-3 down the stretch over their last eight games to earn a 10-7 record. The team is streaky, and it only seems a matter of time before this team hits their stride.
Well, could that stride be coming? The team has gone 3-1 over their last four games and are currently on their bye week. However, their first two games after the bye are against the San Francisco 49ers and the Buffalo Bills, two juggernauts. However, their schedule does ease up a bit in the coming weeks.
They also have contests against the Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts, and Minnesota Vikings. The team does have some very winnable games remaining on their schedule, and I think the Bengals could definitely split their first two games after their bye, likely beating the Bills at home.
Joe Burrow is a top-three QB in the NFL and is always cool as a cucumber. He's also played much better over the last two games, perhaps because his calf is healing up. I would never put anything past this team considering they have won 22 regular season games combined in 2021 and 2022.
I do think their head coach, Zac Taylor, is a bit of a liability, but defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo has done a fantastic job with the defense since arriving in Cincy. Most of us have expected this team to be a Super Bowl contender, and I don't think their slow start should really be much of a surprise.
Let's see if the Bengals can go on a run here.