5 most difficult defenses Joe Burrow and Bengals will face in 2023

December 19, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97)
December 19, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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1. San Fransisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers' defense is absolutely terrifying. In 2022, they led all teams with the fewest points allowed. They also boasted a league-high 20 interceptions. Furthermore, they were second in the NFL in allowing the least passing and rushing yards. 

Their collective talent is impressive but their stars are supernovas.  

Defensive end Nick Bosa is a menace who somehow wound up third on PFF's best edge defenders list. The former Ohio State Buckeye led the league in sacks with 18.5. 

If you believe in the preachings of PFF, linebacker Fred Warner is the second-best in the NFL at his position. 

Beyond that, Joe Burrow and the Bengals’ offense will have opportunities to put up nice numbers versus San Fransisco’s secondary. Charvarius Ward is a top-10 defensive back, according to PFF. Nevertheless, he will not be thrilled with the prospects of facing Ja’Marr Chase again.

For Cincinnati to find success versus a vulnerable defensive back group, they must first account for a relentless pass rush and somehow run the ball against what should be an extremely stingy defense in both areas. 

The Bengals and 49ers play Week 8 in San Fransisco in what will hopefully be a Super Bowl LVIII preview. 

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Burrow’s four lowest-rated games of the season came against the Steelers, Ravens, and Browns according to ESPN and Pro Football Reference. Three of the four lowest-scoring games from last year came against the division rivals as well. The 49ers and Bills boast two of the best defenses in the NFL with stars of their own. 

Let’s hope Burrow continues to show why he should be considered one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL while putting up big numbers versus these challenging defenses in 2023.