The season the Cincinnati Bengals had in 2021 was a complete and total shock. No one expected a team that had won four games in 2020 to rattle off 10 wins, earn the AFC North title, and make it all the way to the Super Bowl after winning their first playoff game in over three decades, taking down the No. 1 seed the next week, and the back-to-back AFC champions in the following week.
Yet, all of that happened.
While the stripes didn't win the Super Bowl, no one can deny that the season was a magical one. Fans now expect nothing less of the good guys reaching the big game and coming home with the title this time.
Fortunately, Madden 23 sims don't mean squat when it comes to what the 2022 season has in store. If it did hold a big part in what happens, Bengals fans wouldn't be happy about App Trigger's Matthew Liebl's Madden sim in which the Bengals went 10-7 once again but this time finished third in the AFC North.
Cincinnati's 10-7 mark put them behind Baltimore, who were projected to win the division with a 12-5 record while the Browns had an 11-6 mark. Going 10-7 isn't anything to scoff at but it's wild how that now puts the Bengals as the third-best team in the division and has them barely making it into the playoffs as the seven seed.
"Joe Burrow makes another leap in his third season, throwing for career-high yards (5,308) and touchdowns (41). Ja’Marr Chase follows up on his incredible rookie season with 105 receptions for 1,481 yards (3rd most in the league) and 11 touchdowns."- Matthew Liebl, App Trigger
In the playoffs, Cincinnati takes down the No. 2 seeded Colts in the Wild Card round before falling to the No. 1 seeded Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round losing by a score of 42-28.
"Last year’s Conference Championship teams meet a round earlier and this time it’s the Kansas City Chiefs who prevail. Patrick Mahomes plays the perfect game with 421 yards and four touchdowns."- Matthew Liebl, App Trigger
If there's proof that sims mean next to nothing, Liebl's sim has the Jaguars making it to the AFC Championship Game before falling to Kansas City. I know the Bengals made it to the Super Bowl after a four-win season but the Jaguars are a lot further behind than the Bengals were this time last year.
At the end of the day, Madden simulations are just that -- Simulations.
Bengals fans shouldn't be triggered by this. In fact, if anything, it's nice to be an underdog again considering how stacked this team is heading into the most anticipated season in franchise history.