2 reasons why the Bengals can still make the playoffs (and 3 why they can't)

  • Solid weapons
  • Conference record
  • No Burrow
Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens
Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens / Rob Carr/GettyImages
2 of 3

Why they can: Tons of offensive weapons

Jake Browning hasn't played much in the NFL but he's stepping into a pretty good situation in Cincinnati. At his disposal, he has Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, Joe Mixon, Trenton Irwin, Charlie Jones, Andrei Iosivas, and Tanner Hudson. A lot of quarterbacks would dream of having that group of guys to throw to.

We saw Browning and Irwin link up throughout the eventual 34-20 loss to Baltimore so it's clear that Browning trusts Irwin. His first-ever touchdown pass went to Chase late in the game and we know that Chase is going to do whatever it takes to help Burrow's backup succeed.

Why they can't: It's hard to win without your franchise QB

Let's just get the obvious one out of the way, shall we? Without Joe Burrow taking the snaps and throwing the ball, the Bengals aren't a scary team. It'd be the same story if the Chiefs lost Patrick Mahomes or if the Bills lost Josh Allen. Both teams would lose their best player and therefore, they'd be less intimidating.

Maybe Browning ends up playing well or maybe A.J. McCarron ends up stepping in and can win games for this team. Either way, not having their franchise quarterback is a good enough reason to bet against the Bengals the rest of the way.