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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2. Baltimore Ravens

Another division rival lands on our list and it's the Baltimore Ravens. Defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald is in his second season, taking over this group from Wink Martindale. Last season saw a few key additions turn this defense into one of the league's best.

Acquiring Roquan Smith from the Bears in a blockbuster trade not only meant gaining a game-changer but also improved the fortunes of fellow linebacker Patrick Queen. Queen looked to be struggling, but having the experienced Smith beside him has allowed him to thrive.

The other major change was welcoming first-round selection Kyle Hamilton into the defensive backfield. He was predominantly a nickel corner in 2022 but will take more snaps at safety this year. His size, speed and versatility means he can be deployed in numerous roles.

The Ravens will need one of their young pass rushers to come to the fore this season. Odefe Oweh and David Ojabo have had injuries that have set back their careers to this point. One or both will need to add some sack production to this defense.

The Ravens have got younger on defense but retain their reputation as game wreckers. This defense is set to ask questions of the Bengals for the next few years.