The defense must apply pressure
Getting back to an AFC Championship game is never easy, but if you do, it is because you have a strong defense. When looking back to last season and the team’s success, you also have to acknowledge the outstanding defensive plays by the defense, especially in the postseason.
Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo will again demand that his players know his system and their role in it, which is key to limiting mistakes. Most of the defensive players that have played for him in the last few years know the expectations. This is quite an asset for a team looking to run it back.
It will start up front with defensive tackle D.J. Reader bringing the pressure up the middle. Reader was outstanding for the stripes last year yet got subbed for a Pro Bowl nomination. This team is certainly not lacking pass rushers, with B.J. Hill, Cam Sample, Sam Hubbard, and defensive end Trey Hendrickson who finished the season with 14 sacks, which is the most in Bengals history.
It will need all hands on deck for this defense, including much anticipated defensive end Joseph Ossai who was lost for the year last season. Sprinkle in an experience secondary with the new editions of drafted rookies, and you have the making of another stable defense.
This aggressive defense must apply pressure and control third downs. Getting the ball back in the hands of Burrow for him to work his magic is the name of the game if they plan on returning to the ACF Championship.