1. San Francisco 49ers
The Bengals will face what is widely considered the top defense in the league this season. The San Francisco 49ers allowed the fewest yards and fewest points per game in 2022. They are led by a couple of league superstars, one of which is very familiar to Joe Burrow.
Nick Bosa, a teammate and close friend of Burrow's from his Ohio State days, is one of the best pass rushers in the league. He had 19 sacks and 30 QB hits in his best season since entering the league in 2019.
Bosa isn't the only superstar on this defense. Javon Hargrave arrives from the Philadelphia Eagles on a four-year, $84 million deal. He recorded 11 sacks from the interior and will slot next to Arik Armstead for the 49ers.
On the second level, Fred Warner is the most versatile linebacker in the league and has set the benchmark for what is expected at the position. His athleticism allows him to be a game wrecker not only vs. the run but also in coverage.
The Bengals will need to exploit the secondary if they are to get any offensive production going against the 49ers. Even that can be tricky with rookie safety Talanoa Hufanga prowling the backfield.
This array of talent along with Kyle Shanahan calling plays on offense, is unfair and will be one of the Bengals' toughest days at the office in 2023.