The Cincinnati Bengals had a historic run this past season which led to a Super Bowl, but as history shows, it isn’t easy to get back to the Super Bowl the year after, especially when you lose.
The AFC got a lot better, and so did the Bengals. Still, the AFC West welcoming Russell Wilson as the Denver Broncos’ new quarterback and Davante Adams as the unique number one wideout for the Las Vegas Raiders makes this conference a lot more competitive.
Cincinnati will have a demanding schedule and have an opponent win percentage of over .550 based on last season. Teams get better, teams get worse, and injuries happen, so establishing a schedule on the year prior is a little skewed.
However, one thing that is not skewed yearly is how tough the AFC North is. The Baltimore Ravens are returning fully healthy, the Cleveland Browns added Deshaun Watson and Amari Cooper, and Pittsburgh remains optimistic with two new quarterbacks on the roster.
If the Bengals want to get back to the postseason in 2022, here are five things they have to do this season.
All stats are courtesy of NFL.com.
5. Put last season in the past
This may sound derogative and obvious but look at history regarding teams who lose the Super Bowl. Often, there is a layover the year after you lose the big game, known as the “Super Bowl slump.” When you get so close to winning the game, there is a physical and mental toll it puts on your mindset, and once again, you have to start from scratch and grind out each week to get back to that promised land, and it isn’t easy.
The AFC got a lot better. Cincinnati will need to take each week as its own and simply chip away and find ways to win. Nothing they did this past year matters anymore. This is a new team, and they will need to prove to everyone why this year wasn’t a fluke, why this Cincinnati Bengals team is here to stay and will be a team to reckon with for a long time to come.
It is hard to move on from a year where it seemed as if all the pieces fell perfectly into place and a year which felt like it could have been the one that resulted in a Super Bowl. But the fact of the matter is this team is still extremely young.
With Joe Burrow in the realm, it should not be a struggle for this squad to put the season in the past, put one foot in front of the other, and just start at phase one.