It’s not surprising that people don’t believe in the Cincinnati Bengals right now. They’ve won just six games under head coach Zac Taylor and are in one of the toughest divisions in football. Last year saw the other three divisional teams make the playoffs while the Bengals finished the season with a measly four wins.
So, yeah. It’s no wonder why people aren’t really believing in the Bengals this year.
With that said, however, this is a team that could surprise some people in 2021.
Matt Lombardo of FanSided recently spoke to a director of Pro Player Personnel and asked who the biggest surprise teams were entering the season. The Bengals made the list.
Lombardo gave reasons why he believed each team could turn things around and said this about the Bengals:
Quarterback Joe Burrow returns to an offense that features one of the NFL’s most explosive wide receiving corps; Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins one year after passing for 2,688 yards with 13 touchdowns to five interceptions before tearing his ACL in Week 11.
Defensively, the Bengals stunk, allowing 26.5 points per game but 393 yards per contest. Enter offseason additions Chidobe Awuzie and Trae Waynes in the secondary, Trey Hendrickson and Larry Ogunjobi up front, and this is a unit capable of making big strides. At least a stride big enough to hold opponents under the potentially lofty totals Burrow and Co. on offense have the potential of producing each week.
This isn’t the first time the Bengals have been listed as a team that could surprise some people. It’s still hard to seriously buy into this narrative though, as the AFC North is difficult and the Bengals’ schedule is no cakewalk.
The Cincinnati Bengals could be a breakout team in 2021.
The other teams to make the list were the Jets, Jaguars, and 49ers. The 49ers were in the Super Bowl just two seasons ago so no one would be stunned to see them turn things around and make it back to the postseason.
As for the Jets and the Jaguars, they’re in a similar boat as the Bengals. They all have young quarterbacks and are used to losing but those two teams have rookie quarterbacks while the Bengals have Joe Burrow entering the second year of his career and are hoping for a massive sophomore season from the former No. 1 overall pick.
The Bengals can certainly turn things around and be a surprising team this year. Will it be enough to save Zac Taylor’s job, however? We’ll have to wait and see.
For now, though, the optimism is the highest it’s been in several years and for Bengals fans, that’s enough.