4 biggest obstacles in Bengals’ way of winning AFC again in 2022

Eric Bruns
Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals are the kings of the AFC mountain after representing the conference in the Super Bowl. While making it to the Super Bowl was a ton of fun, winning a conference championship presents new challenges. The Bengals have never experienced success like this, at least not for 32 years and obviously, no one on that team is currently playing.

Cincinnati won’t be flying under the radar this season. This will make it immensely difficult for the Bengals to win the AFC again.

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest challenges that the stripes face in making a repeat Super Bowl appearance in 2023.

Stacked AFC

Looking at the AFC and NFC, the scales are tipped by a large margin. Some of the quarterbacks joining the AFC this year are Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson (after a year off, that is), and Matt Ryan, which will already make a stacked AFC even more difficult.

This is assuming, of course, that Wilson will be playing at the high level he has the ability to. If last year was an indication that he is on the downward slope of his career the Broncos might be in the same situation they were in last year, or at best slightly better but not Super Bowl-caliber.

The AFC also added (re-added?) Deshaun Watson who was traded from the Texans to the Browns. Of course, his disciplinary repercussions from his 22 accusations of sexual assault could still be punishable by the NFL though the charges were dropped in criminal court.

Let’s not forget the Colts also traded for Matt Ryan. Some might say he isn’t what he used to be but Ryan did throw for shy of 4,000 yards last year, so he can still sling the ball. With a potent offense led by Johnathon Taylor who can take the bulk of the offensive load, they could be a dangerous team.

Now the AFC, arguably, has nine of the top 15 quarterbacks in the league. Along with stout teams getting stronger like the Raiders trading for Davante Adams or the Dolphins adding so many weapons for Tua Tagovailoa that even he won’t know what to do with them, it’s possible that the Bengals could get lost in the shuffle.

The AFC was tough last year, and it got even tougher in 2022. We have not even had the draft yet. This free agency has been crazy, mostly thanks to the AFC. Apparently, everyone is coming for the Bengals.