5 toughest defenses on Bengals 2023 schedule

  • Can the Bengals slow down Myles Garrett?
  • The Ravens have one of the best secondaries in the NFL, when healthy.
  • Bills depth along the defensive front will be a major threat.
  • If Chris Jones decides to return to action, the Chiefs remain a defensive force.
  • The 49ers have arguably the best pass rusher and linebacker in the league.

San Francisco 49ers v Cincinnati Bengals
San Francisco 49ers v Cincinnati Bengals / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages
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4. Kansas City Chiefs

A big part of the Kansas City Chiefs ranking highly depends on how the Chris Jones saga plays out. Jones is caught in the middle of a contract dispute and seems willing to lose money if the Chiefs refuse to reset the defensive tackle market. It's an issue that was always on the cards, considering the cost of having the league's best quarterback.

Another symptom of having so much guaranteed money assigned to one spot is that you have to find young, cheap rookies to fill the roster. The Chiefs have drafted well recently and have a number of promising prospects on defense. Leo Chenal, Felix Anudike-Uzomah and George Karlaftis could all be solid contributors.

The linebacker tandem of Willie Gay and Nick Bolton is one of the strongest league-wide, and the addition of Drue Tranquill bolstered the depth of the position. The only potential weakness remains the secondary.

Losing Thornhill was a blow, and the Chiefs will need second-year players to come to the fore in the defensive backfield. Bryan Cook, Trent McDuffie and Jaylen Watson are all starters with only a season of experience.

If Jones doesn't return by Week 17 when these two teams meet up, Burrow may have enough time in the pocket to expose that inexperience.