After back-to-back trips to the AFC Championship Game, Cincinnati Bengals fans are expecting nothing less in 2023 and beyond. Unfortunately, PFF's season simulator wasn't as convinced in the most recent sim I did for the Bengals' upcoming season.
I did this a few weeks ago and PFF predicted the Bengals would go 12-5. This time around... eh... it wasn't a sim for the faint of heart.
Let's see how the latest simulation turned out.
PFF predicts a down year for the Bengals in 2023
- Week 1 @ Browns: 19-21 Loss
- Week 2 vs Ravens: 27-17 Win
- Week 3 vs Rams: 28-12 Win
- Week 4 @ Titans: 17-27 Loss
- Week 5 @ Cardinals: 23-48 Loss
- Week 6 vs Seahawks: 13-18 Win
- Week 8 @ 49ers: 12-17 Loss
- Week 9 vs Bills: 17-13 Win
- Week 10 vs Texans: 23-25 Loss
- Week 11 @ Ravens: 20-22 Loss
- Week 12 vs Steelers: 42-24 Win
- Week 13 @ Jaguars: 23-17 Win
- Week 14 vs Colts: 20-47 Loss
- Week 15 vs Vikings: 47-38 Win
- Week 16 @ Steelers: 27-21 Win
- Week 17 @ Chiefs: 14-29 Loss
- Week 18 vs Browns: 13-27 Loss
This sim put the Bengals at a shockingly disappointing 7-10 record and this would be quite the surprise to everyone around the league.
I thought "Huh, maybe Joe Burrow got injured and that's why the Bengals underperformed" but nope. PFF had Burrow throwing for 5,224 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions on the year. The rest of the offense did pretty well too, with Tee Higgins posting 1,188 yards and five touchdowns and Ja'Marr Chase finishing with 1,172 yards and six touchdowns. Tyler Boyd had 825 yards and 10 touchdowns. Irv Smith Jr. even finished with 770 receiving yards.
Joe Mixon tallied 1,722 yards from scrimmage with 1,177 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. Rookie Chase Brown rushed for six touchdowns.
The offensive players put up nice numbers and appeared to remain healthy so what the heck happened? Not only did the Bengals lose 10 games, they got blown out by far-worse teams like the Cardinals and Colts.
If this is the season that ended up happening, Cincinnati would not make the playoffs and fans would be worried if this team made the right decisions with who to let go and who to keep.
Fortunately, this is only a simulation and it's doubtful that the season truly unfolds like this.