3 things the Bengals need to do to get back to the postseason in 2024

Buffalo Bills v Cincinnati Bengals
Buffalo Bills v Cincinnati Bengals / Jeff Dean/GettyImages
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The Cincinnati Bengals finished the 2023 campaign with a 9-8 record and missed out on the playoffs for the first time in three seasons. Battling through ups and downs, injuries, and inconsistency, the Jake Browning-led Bengals couldn't squeak their way into the postseason. 

Now with the return of Joe Burrow, key off-season additions, and improvements amongst the roster and coaching staff, the Bengals will attempt to get back to the playoffs where they believe they belong.

The Bengals must keep Joe Burrow healthy

Ever since Joe Burrow was selected as the first overall pick from LSU, the Cincinnati Bengals have lived and died on their ability to protect him. This has allowed Burrow to analyze the opposing defense, extend plays, and perform to the best of his abilities when the offensive line can be effective and give him time. 

However, their lack of consistency in this aspect has become a significant issue for the Bengals and has prevented them from achieving a potential Super Bowl victory. This was evident in Super Bowl 56, where experts got it right by identifying the clear mismatch that was the Bengals' offensive line versus the Rams defensive line. 

Since that time, the Bengals have added reinforcements to their team, with Orlando Brown Jr. taking over the left tackle position. However, it's concerning that in 2023, the Bengals' quarterbacks were sacked a total of 50 times, which is an increase from 44 in 2022. It's crucial for the Bengals to improve at protecting the quarterback.

Burrow has to help, too. Dating back to LSU, he has always tried to extend plays instead of throwing the ball away, which has caused him to take sacks at a high rate.

A sack can leave a team playing behind the chains and missing out on scoring opportunities, which could be the difference between winning and losing, especially in the postseason. Unfortunately, the Bengals have beaten themselves time and time again, even after overcoming obstacles to reach back-to-back AFC championships before last season.

In Joe Burrow's 52 career games, he has been sacked 148 times. By comparison, Andrew Luck, who is now out of the league due to an early retirement, was sacked 115 times in his first 55 career games. If the Bengals want to reach the playoffs and keep their franchise QB healthy throughout the season, they cannot let him get hit as much as he has been.