No. 2: Joe Burrow
Burrow and the Bengals aren’t where they wanted to be during the bye week, but the best part about the NFL is that each week presents a new opportunity. Cincinnati has been out of the contender question for so long, but in part due to Burrow, the Bengals are back in the spotlight.
Burrow’s rookie season was put to an end whenever he tore his ACL last year in Week 11, so getting to see him play again has been special. If all goes according to plan, he’ll be throwing touchdowns for many more seasons in Cincinnati. He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but has thrown four more interceptions than the other quarterbacks in the AFC North.
The No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft holds a 68.2 completion percentage (195-of-286) and has thrown 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in nine games. His 102.6 rating is the highest in the division, but he’s going to have to lower his 3.8 interception percentage in the second half of the season.
His most impressive performance came in Week 7 in a 41-17 win over the Ravens. He threw for a career-high 416 yards and three touchdowns. Burrow and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase are one of the most lethal weapons in the NFL.
If Burrow can channel that energy again, the Bengals will be well on their way to winning a playoff game for the first time in over three decades (knock on wood).