The Cincinnati Bengals are still a part of 12 teams that have never won a Super Bowl. However, they have the roster and quarterback to do so.
The window is as wide open as it has been in the teams' history. The Bengals have one of the more complete and deep rosters in football, along with the coaching staff and chemistry to win it all.
Not to mention, the Bengals now have experience. They know what it takes to get to the big game and compete. Cincinnati was a few game-changing plays away from Super Bowl champions in the 2021 season.
Last season, an AFC Championship loss to the Chiefs ended their season. It won't be an easy path, but this team feels destined, and it seems like Joe Burrow and company understand that.
Here are three things the Bengals must do to get to Super Bowl LVIII.
3. Stay atop of the AFC North and AFC for home field advantage purposes
The AFC is loaded with quarterback and roster talent, and a chunk of that comes from the AFC North. It will be vital that the Bengals can maintain first place in the AFC North for a third consecutive year because that could be what defines certain matchups and field placement come postseason time. Hosting a playoff game in the first round has been beneficial for the Bengals over the last two seasons.
On the other hand, they have proved they can win road games in hostile environments in consecutive years. With the Ravens improving and getting Lamar Jackson back, the Browns having a full season with Deshaun Watson at the realm, and then the Steelers continuing to build around Kenny Pickett, there will be no easy games in the division this year.
Each game will have significance, and each game will be a grind.
2. Consistency on defense
With Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell leaving in free agency, it takes two key leaders and playmakers from this Lou Anarumo-led defense. What Cincinnati has done over the last two years was make plays at vital points of the game, especially in the postseason when they went on to make the Super Bowl two seasons ago.
Now, they will be replaced by second-year and former first-round pick Daxton Hill and most likely Nick Scott who was signed in free agency. Cincinnati also drafted Jordan Battle out of Alabama with their third-round pick who could play himself into snaps at safety.
With all that being said, Cincinnati will need a competent defense, and this could be the best the pass rush and front seven have looked in years for the Bengals. The overall depth and skill level are finally there. Not to mention, adding first-round pick, Myles Murphy to the bunch will only add to that.
1. Run the ball more efficiently
Despite the Bengals making an AFC Championship run last season, they did not run the ball particularly well. Joe Mixon seems to be the guy once again, and with the departure of Samaje Perine, somebody will need to fill that void, and it very well could be rookie Chase Brown, whom Cincinnati just drafted in the fifth round.
Cincinnati didn't have a 1,000-yard rusher last year, and it showed in many games where the Bengals became predictable and one-dimensional. It is essential to have an efficient run game, especially when you have an elite passing game. Having chunk runs paves the way for the passing attack to be successful and do what it is supposed to do, which is make plays.
When the rushing attack can keep the defense honest and force them to put players in the box, it can open up the field for the wideouts and create one on one matchups which is a nightmare for cornerbacks and safeties when you have Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd.