It only took a year or so for the Cincinnati Bengals to assemble one of the most formidable offenses in the league, yet here we are.
The Bengals’ lethal receiving trifecta coupled with rushing star Joe Mixon garnered plenty of attention last season and stands out as arguably the most complete offensive group in the league. Few teams can point to their offense and list not one or two, but three or four legitimate, consistent threats who can singlehandedly win games.
Of course, other factors should be considered, most important of which is the offensive line — the Bengals probably aren’t ranked in the top-5 in that category, but their O-line has nonetheless improved significantly from last year.
In a hypothetical vacuum that doesn’t take into account the quarterback or offensive line, which teams boast the most skilled offensive unit?
The Athletic’s Ted Nguyen ranked the top-10 skill player groups in the NFL and had the Bengals in first place, with tight end Hayden Hurst appearing as the weakest link in the group:
"Chase instantly established himself as a true No. 1 and as one of the most dangerous receivers in the league. Tee Higgins would be the best receiver on the roster for several teams. In this offense, he punishes single coverage or matchups against the opponent’s second-best corner when teams devote their resources to stopping Chase. Tyler Boyd is a big-play threat inside and his production speaks for itself — he was tied for fourth in receptions of 20 yards or more in the slot last season."
Nguyen described Chase as an “elite” player while Higgins, Boyd, and Joe Mixon were “very good players;” Hurst rounds out the group as just “average.”
Cincinnati Bengals boast one of the strongest and most skilled offenses in 2022
The other teams on his list are self-explanatory: the Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and many others.
The most interesting inclusion may be the Seattle Seahawks, who without Russell Wilson still carry an arsenal of weapons in DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Noah Fant.
Seeing the Bengals’ offensive core ranked high in preseason analytical articles should come as no surprise. What we care about more is the Bengals living up to expectations and putting together a successful 2022 season.
Chase set off red alarms throughout the league last year as he broke multiple impressive records as a rookie, but what can he do in Year 2? Defenses will no doubt try utilizing more double-team packages on him, so can Higgins and Boyd step up as the more overlooked receivers? And as the least “skilled” potential starter in the offense, can Hayden Hurst fill C.J. Uzomah’s moderately-sized shoes and make a dent in the passing game?
The phrase “run it back” has been so often used it may be considered cliché at this point, but that’s exactly what the Bengals are aiming to do. Super Bowl LVII, here we come.