5 ways 2023 Lions echo 2021 Bengals playoff run

Started from the bottom, now they're here.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Trayveon Williams (32) leaps over the pile as he runs the ball in
Cincinnati Bengals running back Trayveon Williams (32) leaps over the pile as he runs the ball in / Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
3 of 3

2021 NFL Draft 

The Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions will always be somewhat linked due to the 2021 NFL Draft. This was when the Bengals were fortunate that Ja’Marr Chase was still on the board at the five-slot.

Before then, there was much debate around whether the team should select the star wideout out of LSU or a possible future Hall of Fame offensive tackle in Pennei Sewell.

The Bengals selected Chase and have not regretted that decision in the least. The Lions selected Sewell seventh overall. They also have been more than justified in their choice.

While some will think about “what if” when thinking about how things would look if Cincinnati took Sewell instead, every Bengals fan is happy they got Uno.

But Cincinnati was not the only club to find a phenomenal wide receiver that year. Detroit also drafted their future at the receiver position in that same draft. They selected Amon-Ra St. Brown in the fourth round of the 2021 draft.

Chase and Amon-Ra St. Brown have had incredible starts to their pro careers and are two of the best at the position in the league. They have been critical to their team's success through these runs.

Both receivers will be heavily compensated for their work very soon in the form of contract extensions.


Just like the Bengals were underdogs in Kansas City a couple of years ago, the Lions have the advantage of being underestimated going into San Francisco. Cincinnati came out on top and proved the naysayers wrong. It is Detroit’s turn to “let a naysayer know,” as Kirk Herbstreit might say.

Most already have the Ravens playing the 49ers in the Super Bowl. Many speak glowingly about what the Lions have done as a team and organization. Yet when it comes down to making predictions, the overwhelming majority go with San Francisco.

Bengals fans know about that, as we had to hear that the matchup against Kansas City was a fait accompli and Cincinnati was just another obstacle for Patrick Mahomes to overcome.

We know how that turned out. Perhaps it will be the same for Detroit against the 49ers.

As Bengals fans, we know more than any other fanbase what the Lions have gone through for all these years. We recognize how this run can change the perception of the city and the team. 

And how the Lions arrived at this point is eerily similar to the road taken by the Bengals.  

The thought of the Cincinnati Bengals taking on the Detroit Lions in a Super Bowl would have had your friends and family concerned for your mental health a couple of years ago. Today, we can ponder the possibility of a Championship matchup between two franchises without being ridiculed. What a difference 30 years make!