Realistic Expectations For Bengals 2021 Season

Realistic Expectations For Bengals 2021 Season

Ayden Fahlstrom
3 years ago
3 min read
Realistic Expectations For Bengals 2021 Season

Although it was better than the year prior, the 2020 season still saw the Bengals struggle to a 4-11-1 record. However, there is more optimism going into the new season, which means expectations are naturally growing.

Here are a few more realistic expectations for the Bengals as the 2021 season fast approaches.

Burrow Elevates His Game

If there is a number one reason why Bengals fans should be optimistic this season, it’s Joe Burrow. The 2020 first overall pick saw his rookie campaign end early due to a torn ACL, but the second-year QB can realistically take a big step forward.

Despite starting in just 10 games before the injury, Burrow threw for close to 2,700 yards and 13 touchdowns, registering just five interceptions as well. He did a decent job of taking care of the football despite being sacked 32 times, a whopping 7.3 percent of his dropbacks. A slightly improved offensive line should be able to help get that number way down in 2021.

Burrow’s biggest area of weakness was the deep ball, but with more time to throw and the addition of rookie wideout Ja’Marr Chase, that should improve as well. All this to say that while expecting an MVP season might be lofty, an even better season for Joe should be anticipated by every Bengals fan.

The Secondary is Borderline Elite

Cincinnati’s defense remains quite a bit away from being one of the best overall units in football. However, their secondary is certainly a strong point, so much so that fans can expect the unit to be one of the better ones across the league.

The face of the group is Jessie Bates III, who Pro Football Focus last year ranked as the number one safety in the NFL. Bates, who is heading into his fourth and final season of his rookie deal, forced 12 incompletions in 2020, three more than any other safety in football. But besides him, the secondary also features former Cowboy cornerback Chidobe Awuzie, signed to a three-year deal this offseason, as well as veteran corners Trae Waynes and slot corner Mike Hilton.

The Bengals will enter the season with three new starting corners, a serviceable safety in Vonn Bell, and the potential best free safety in football in Bates. One of those corners will need to step up as a bonafide shutdown option for the unit to become very elite, but they should collectively be a very good bunch.

Bengals Approach 7-8 Win Mark

Of course, every fan wants to go into the new season expecting a Super Bowl trip and more. But after three straight last-place finishes in the AFC North, the Bengals are sadly unlikely to be a playoff team, let alone make a Super Bowl run.

However, an improvement from four wins to seven or even eight wins isn’t out of the question. Burrow playing in 17 games rather than 10 will help, as well as the revamped secondary and pass-rush, the latter of which was one of the worst units in football last season. It also helps that Cincy’s strength of schedule is the easiest out of the four teams within the division.

Half of their first eight games are against non-playoff teams, while five of their final eight games following their bye are at home. With Point being, there are enough signs to indicate that a three or four-win improvement is very doable for this Bengals team.

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