The Cincinnati Bengals had an incredible run in 2021. It is safe to say that quarterback Joe Burrow found his rhythm last season, which allowed for one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. This year’s schedule will be even more demanding. If Burrow and company plan to run it back again, they will have to face some challenging defenses.
Let’s look at five of the top defenses that the Bengals will face.
5. Baltimore Ravens
Remembering how the Ravens put big numbers up on Bengals in 2020? Well, the stripes returned the favor last season. In two games, Burrow and his trio of receivers outscored the Ravens 82-38. These wins made a statement that the Bengals had arrived plus allowed them to win the AFC North division.
Defensively, Baltimore struggled most of last year between injuries, COVID-19 protocol, losing Marlon Humphrey for most of the season, and losing both Marcus Peters and Derek Wolfe for the whole season. This offseason, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh focused on enhancing his defense.
The Ravens, with their first-round pick in the draft, selected versatile Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton. With Humphrey, and Peters set to return, plus free safety Marcus Williams and now rookie Kyle Hamilton, the Ravens should have one of the better secondaries that the Bengals will face. Burrow will put this group to the test, which for a Bengal fan will be exciting to watch.
Strengthening their defensive line led Baltimore to take a chance in the second round on a top prospect Michigan’s David Ojabo, even though he is recovering from a torn Achilles. In the third round, defensive tackle Travis Jones was chosen from UConn to join veterans Calais Campbell, Michael Pierce, and Derek Wolfe, making this a solid line. Still, Bengals Joe Mixon behind his new offensive line will make them earn their money.
During the Full Send Podcast, Joe Burrow was recently asked who was one of the biggest trash talkers and he said it was none other than the flock up north.
"[The Ravens] talk. I love that. I threw for 520-something in the second one and I threw for 400-something in the first one. … Yeah, I love playing the Ravens. They like to talk. I don’t start the talking. But if somebody pokes me, I can talk a little bit."
You can’t help but wonder if Burrow’s success against the Ravens led them to change defensive coordinators. Nevertheless, this should be a barn burner.